Pass the Torch

At the close of the 2018 Safe& Peaceful Chicago grant cycle, we asked select grant recipients to offer words of reflection about their work and the larger mission of the Initiative.

Ceola C. Henderson-Bryant, president/CEO, C.B.R. Tranquility Development Home NFP, used her 2018 grant funding to support a series of summer events for youth. Her nonprofit also is working to establish a transitional living facility in Chicago.

Our West and South Side communities are worth their weight in gold, and Chicagoans need to see their value, not just the violence. A big part of that value is youth, and we older adults must trust them to accept the torch of responsibility.

I am an educator and longtime resident of these communities, and I also work with youth through my nonprofit organization. Seniors like me can give young adults so much more than judgement and blame: We can give them knowledge, integrity, caring and compassion, tools to help them develop alternatives to violence.  We can give them dignity and respect, helping set the tone for building alliances, strong families and cohesive communities.  We can show them how to be resilient and courageous in the face of adversity and violence.

I’m a true believer in passing the torch to youth: We should not place the blame for violence on their backs. I want other older adults to join me — teach yourself something about restorative justice, recidivism circles, the 7 Key Principles of Dr. Carl Bell, character-building and social-emotional learning and curriculums, and then teach it to a young person in your life.

Do what you can to bring peace to your home, block or community. Find a young person to receive your torch of knowledge.

This is a story about the Community Safety and Peace strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.