CHICAGO — Four non-profits are joining forces to help stop crime before it happens.
Fredrick Dennis has come a long way in life. When he was 17, Dennis got into some legal trouble and the non-profit Lawndale Christian Legal Center stepped in to help.
Today, he’s now a businessman and a college graduate.
“Cliff and them helped me get to college. I was the first one in my family to graduate from high school and I went to NIU for two and half years. I came home and continually worked with Cliff,” said Dennis. “I started my own business Land Resolution Inc.”
Lawndale Christian Legal Center organizers said its taking further steps to help more at-risk teens and young adults. So, they have teamed up with three other non-profits — Breakthrough, Build and New Life Centers, to expand their services.
Free attorneys will be offered to those with pending cases in the juvenile and adult courts of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
For us, this initiative is about taking four groups that have been working together for many years and bringing together a strong community base,” New Life Centers Executive Director Matt DeMateo said. “Assets of legal services and comprehensive wrap around services to scale.”
The new partnership will also provide counseling, health care, mental health services and jobs.
The group hopes to break the cycle of arrests, incarceration and recidivism by acknowledging the underlying issues that can lead to crime.
“All they need is exposure,” Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer said. “All they need to know is that someone cares.”
The group of non-profits said its also providing resources for housing, violence prevention and substance abuse.