The images were powerful: a fist, blood, a gun and tears. They were among many that Chicago Public Schools teens created for an anti-violence poster contest sponsored by The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Forensic Center's Save Our School Children (S.O.S.) initiative.
Teens who entered the contest and their parents attended a reception April 22 to view all the posters and learn the winners. Of the 18 posters, some made outright pleas to stop the violence, while others appealed to emotion by depicting the devastating after-effects.
All of them contributed to Save Our School Children's goal, which is to help prevent the further spread of youth violence in Chicago. To do so, S.O.S. harnesses the expertise and experience of Forensic Center faculty and students seeking to do their part in this cause.
Sixteen TCSPP students in the Clinical Forensic program worked throughout the year to develop the S.O.S. program. They organized the anti-violence art/poster campaign, and made weekly visits to Crane, Kelly, and Kenwood Academy High Schools, which are in neighborhoods touched by violence, to facilitate life skills groups with students there.
The poster contest was the second major event sponsored by the S.O.S. initiative. It follows on the heels of a town hall meeting in December 2009, which brought together police, a city official, a judge, a probation officer, and high school students, along with Dr. Ellis Copeland, academic dean of the TCSPP Chicago Campus, and Dr. Michelle Hoy-Watkins, associate chair of TCSPP's Department of Forensic Psychology and organizer of the event, to discuss the root causes of youth violence.
The Forensic Center is developing future programming centering on youth development, parent empowerment, and community outreach and support.
As the practice arm of the Forensic Psychology Department, the Forensic Center brings students together with local organizations on projects that bolster hands-on learning experiences while addressing unmet needs in the community. In addition, the center offers professional development and continuing education workshops. For more information about the Forensic Center, visit www.forensiccenter.org.
For more information regarding the S.O.S. Program or the town hall meeting, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.