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Enlace takes a comprehensive, multi-systemic and trauma-informed approach to building safety and promoting peace in Little Village.


Ceasefire, School-Based Mentors
Street Intervention
School-Based Counselors

Enlace began facilitating street outreach efforts in 2005, when it became the CeaseFire lead agency in Little Village. Enlace’s Street Intervention Team uses a comprehensive set of targeted mediation strategies to prevent conflict and they organize year-round community activities that promote peace. Outreach Workers work closely with some of the highest-risk individuals in the community, specifically those between the ages of 13 to 24 who are most at-risk of being victims or perpetrators of gun violence, providing case management, mentorship, safe spaces, and connections to needed services and resources. Case Managers provide an additional level of support after participants are prepared to focus on high-level personal, educational and professional goals. Each manager has a specialty, so Outreach Workers are able to refer participants to the Case Manager that is the best fit for their needs. Victim Advocates respond to incidents of violence, providing support to impacted individuals and family members. They institute safety plans, provide wraparound services that are specific to victims, and pay particular attention to mental health and emotional support needs. If violence does occur, the team works collaboratively and with partners to support families, make hospital visits, carry out mediation efforts, suppress retaliations, and organize shooting responses, prayer vigils, marches and fundraisers.

School-Based Counselors are master’s level clinical social workers that provide comprehensive, destigmatized mental health services to youth and families, with a focus on addressing risk factors and enhancing coping, problem solving and communication skills. They work with teachers, administrators and other school staff as well as parents and other family members to build the support networks that are so key for long-term youth development.


Schools that partner with Enlace to provide the School-Based Counselors program include:

  • Community Links High School

  • Eli Whitney Elementary School

  • Farragut Career Academy

  • Madero Middle School

If you are in Master of Social Work program and would like to do your field placement with this initiative, click here.

Safe Passage, Youth Safety Network
Street-Based Counselors

Street-Based Counselors provide clinical case management to individuals returning to the Little Village community after having had contact with the criminal or juvenile justice system, and/or individuals considered high-risk by street outreach workers. Counselors support participants’ mental healthcare by assessing treatment needs; developing, monitoring and evaluating treatment plans and progress based on mutually agreed upon goals; and facilitating interdisciplinary approaches. They also deliver psycho-social group interventions that incorporate a number of evidence-based practices and therapies.

Safe Passage is designed to improve routes for students and families traveling to and from school by creating a safer and more supportive outdoor environment. Regardless of the weather, dedicated team members arrive at their posts well before school begins, and return for their second shift before students are dismissed. The program relies on collaboration with school administration and staff, the Chicago Police Department, community partners, parents, students and neighbors living along the routes.


Enlace coordinates the Safe Passage program around the following schools:

  • Benito Juarez Community Academy

  • Charles G. Hammond Elementary School

  • Community Links High School

  • Eli Whitney Elementary School

  • Farragut Career Academy

  • Irma C. Ruiz Elementary School

  • John Spry Community School

  • Joseph E. Gary Elementary School

  • Lázaro Cardenas Elementary School

  • Little Village Lawndale High School Campus

  • Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy

  • Pickard Elementary School

  • Telpochcalli Elementary School

  • William F. Finkl Academy

Organizing and Advocacy

Over the years, staff and leaders have advocated for criminal justice reform and restorative justice initiatives that work to decriminalize Black and Latinx youth. Advocacy is strengthened by strong coalitions that coordinate the work of organizations focused on violence prevention, youth development, mental health and other issues that comprehensively promote peace and safety in Little Village. This includes the Violence Prevention Collaborative (VPC), which includes over 25 community partners and is a vehicle for bringing community leaders together around initiatives, strategies and systems reform that promote a just and peaceful community. It also includes the Little Village Youth Safety Network (LVYSN), a collective impact effort that coordinates the work of local organizations that focus on positive youth development. Partners collaboratively collect and analyze data, which has been used to advocate for the resources needed to support effective violence prevention efforts in Little Village. To learn more about each of these networks, click here for the VPC and LVSYN.


For more information about the Enlace Leadership Academy, click here.


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