Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY)

Strengthening Chicago’s Youth is a violence prevention collaborative convened by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago to support, coordinate and unite partners to promote policy and environmental change to prevent violence before it occurs.

SCY’s mission is to build capacity among hundreds of public and private stakeholders to connect, collaborate and mobilize around a public health approach to violence prevention—adopting consistent messaging about the preventability of violence, promoting the use of evidence-based violence prevention strategies and fostering multi-sector collaboration—to encourage partnerships that strengthen existing efforts and benefit the children of Chicago.

SCY News

SCY, together with Cook County Juvenile Probation Department, TASC, the Illinois Collaboration on Youth and 10 community-based service providers, launched the Juvenile Justice Collaborative project in early 2017. Read more about how the JJC is Helping Juvenile Offenders Find a Path to Success.

Focus Areas

With the goal of educating and raising awareness about effective ways to reduce and prevent youth violence, SCY’s approach is concentrated on five focus areas.

  1. Sustained investment in children and youth
  2. Equitable access to high quality mental health services
  3. Common sense approaches to gun violence prevention
  4. A juvenile justice system that reflects what we know about adolescent development
  5. Sustained investment in strong communities

Key Strategies

SCY employs four main strategies to support its mission:

  1. Coordinate efforts around the SCY policy agenda
  2. Facilitate sharing of knowledge among and provide technical assistance and training to community organizations
  3. Encourage conversations about the preventability of violence and how every individual and organization can play a role
  4. Foster connections between community organizations and researchers 

Learn more about SCY’s activities and events.

Getting Involved with SCY

There are many ways and opportunities to get involved with SCY. Go to

To learn more about trainings and events, receive our regular newsletter, or stay up-to-date on SCY’s policy updates, join our mailing list.

For more information on participating in SCY, contact Kelli Day at


Rebecca Levin, MPH, Director
Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH, Medical Director

Group Members/Staff

  • Kelli Day, MPH, Operations Manager
  • Leslie Helmcamp, MPAff, Policy Manager
  • Rachel Foote, MPH, Program Manager, Preventing Alcohol Abuse in Chicago Teens (PAACT)
  • Edward Boone, Community Programs Coordinator
  • Kirstin Grabski, Operations Coordinator

​​More information about SCY staff members​​.


Kalish RE, Voigt B, Rahimian A, DiCara J, Sheehan K. Listening to youth: Reflections on the effect of a youth development program. Health Promotion Practice, May 2010; 11(3):387-93.

Sheehan K, Kim LE, Galvin JP. Urban children's perceptions of violence. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004; 158(1):74-77.

Sheehan K. Intentional injury and violence prevention. Clinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine, 2003; 4(1):12-20.

Dowd MD, Seidel JS, Sheehan K, Barlow B, Bradbard SL. Teenagers’ perceptions of personal safety and the role of the emergency health care provider. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 2000; 36(4):346-350.

Sheehan K, DiCara JA, LeBailly S, Christoffel KK. Adapting the gang model: Peer mentoring for violence prevention. Pediatrics, 1999; 104(1):50-54.

Powell EC, Sheehan KM, Christoffel KK. Firearm violence among youth: public health strategies for prevention. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 1996; 28(2):204-212.