(CBS) — With politicians, police and Chicago parents looking for ways to curb violence here, one program for young men is showing promise.
A University of Chicago study just released describes how it works.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams watched in action at Dunbar High School.
Their walk is orderly, the greetings are warm, and these young men are safe and supported.
“I want to let them know that there is someone that’s in their corner,” says Jack Soloman, a Dunbar counsellor who lead Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man, or BAM.
The program teaches structure, lessons in self-discipline and integrity and restraint in potentially tense situations.
How does BAM work? A new University of Chicago study found the young men participating in it develop greater empathy for themselves and others.
It also helps them plan for the future, something too many young inner city young men can’t see because of the violence around them.
Angelo, a Dunbar quarterback, last year was the innocent victim of a shooting. Far from being sidetracked or full of despair he says BAM has made him more determined to do well in school.
“You really can go somewhere from school,” he says.
He thinks of other teenagers in his South Side neighborhood, saying they, too, could benefit from BAM.
Another U of C finding: Those young men have a sense of belonging in a positive environment.
Membership in the program growing, from 2,700 last year in Chicago to 4,000 this year. It’s expected to get up to 8,000 next year.