In the News

October 24, 2022: North Lawndale Collaborative offers real promise on violence reduction (Crain’s Chicago Business)

The partnership, which receives public and private funding, deserves to be scaled, say the leaders of three violence prevention organizations.

The collaborative is unique because of the level of coordination and commitment among our partners. It includes two community organizations, the North Lawndale Employment Network, and UCAN as well other community partners in adjacent neighborhoods. Chicago police are also fully aware of the outreach work we do, and they recognize its value.

October 13, 2022: Restorative Justice program helps dismiss, expunge non-violent charges (ABC7)

July 30, 2022: The Honeycomb Project Summer Swarm (WGN)

July 27, 2022: Chicago nonprofit collecting free supplies for local college students (ABC7)

Hundreds of students from the North Lawndale community will get backpacks, bedsheets and other essentials on Aug. 5, before heading off to school.

July 11, 2022: Everyday Violence – UCAN (WBBM NEWSRADIO)

Christa Hamilton, CEO of the Social Service agency UCAN, talks with Craig Dellimore about the organization’s efforts to help strengthen communities plagued by gun violence.

June 21, 2022: UCAN Holds Annual Youth Leadership Awards in Honor of Local Youth (Chicago Leader)

UCAN hosted its 23rd Annual Youth Leadership Awards (YLA) on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, to honor Chicago youth from the West Side. The YLA event typically awards seven recipients with scholarships for higher education. This year, a total of nine young people were honored at the event.

June 20, 2022: UCAN Youth Leadership Awardees Featured in Crain’s “People On The Move” People on the move listing | Crain’s Chicago Business

March 18, 2022: Chicagoans Arrested For Marijuana Possession Are Getting Crash Course In The Legal Weed Business (Block Club Chicago)

The Olive Harvey College program aims to create more racial equity in the weed industry — from the ground up. It’s on track to have an associate’s degree in cannabis studies by next year.

February 26, 2022: UCAN’s President and CEO, Christa A. Hamilton, is interviewed for Rainbow Push Coalition’s  Saturday Morning Forum. 

February 2, 2022: UCAN Offers Transitional Housing, Violence Prevention (Chicago Tonight, WTTW)


Reggie Woods

November 9, 2021: Lessons from a ‘violence interrupter’ as shootings continue to ravage Chicago (ABC News)

As gun violence continues to skyrocket in Chicago, the police, experts and city officials are scrambling for answers, but few understand gun violence like Reggie Woods, UCAN Program Manager in Violence Intervention and Prevention Services.

September 30, 2021: This West Side Group Is Helping Kids Try Rowing, Rugby, Lacrosse And Chess (Block Club Chicago)

The North Lawndale Athletic and Recreation Association is expanding the kinds of sports and activities it offers to give neighborhood youth more options.

September 23, 2021: West Side agency names 1st woman, 1st Black CEO in its 152 years (Chicago SunTimes)

Founded 152 years ago as a Civil War orphanage, the noted West Side social services agency UCAN Chicago named Christa Hamilton its first woman and first Black CEO. Its programs include foster care, violence prevention and workforce development.

September 23, 2021: West Side Garden Is Designed To Help Youth Heal From Trauma: ‘A Garden Is A Friend You Can Visit Anytime’ (Block Club Chicago)

The Petria’s Place Healing Garden was unveiled at the 3605 W. Fillmore St. campus of UCAN, a social service and youth development agency in North Lawndale. The sprawling garden of mostly native plants and trees has several winding paths that take visitors through several works of art, a fire pit, a water feature and a play area.

September 13, 2021: Learn how to become a foster parent at picnic (Daily Herald)

Foster care agencies — including Hephzibah, Kaleidoscope, Kids Above All, Lawrence Hall, Little City, Lutheran Social Services, and UCAN — will have tables set up outside the pavilion with presentations and testimonials to educate attendees about fostering youth and the resources available to foster care parents.

August 10, 2021: UCAN Governing Board Elects Christa A. Hamilton President & CEO

UCAN President/CEO Christa A. Hamilton

The UCAN Governing Board has elected Christa A. Hamilton as president and CEO of the 152-year-old youth services organization that provides a continuum of services to more than 21,000 children, youth and families around Chicago. Prior to the appointment, since 2014 Hamilton served as CEO for Centers for New Horizons, based on Chicago’s South Side. Hamilton will join UCAN on September 13 as she continues the transition from Centers. READ MORE

August 6, 2021: To Combat Crime, City Launches Central ‘Nerve Center’ To Bring Violence Prevention Programs Under One Roof (Block Club Chicago)

Public safety programs and related agencies will come together under the newly created Community Safety and Coordination Center. All projects that can help address violence will be “living under one roof,” Lightfoot said.

August 5, 2021: Lightfoot announces new neighborhood violence response strategy modeled after coronavirus efforts (Chicago Tribune)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced a plan to use collaborative approaches learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to tackle Chicago’s violence problem at the neighborhood level. Lightfoot appeared in the West Side’s North Lawndale neighborhood to open the city’s first “Community Safety Coordination Center.” 

July 20, 2022: To Combat Crime, West Side Neighborhood Groups Are Trying To Build Community (Block Club Chicago)

“The way we think about safety is having a healthy community,” said Brittany Spralls, an organizer with the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council.

July 6: 2021: UCAN Violence Preventers Step In After Violent Holiday Weekend, And They’re Always Around In Chicago Communities (CBS2)

June 2021: Crain’s 2021 Notable Executives in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion | Crain’s Chicago Business

Claude Robinson, Executive Vice President of External Affairs & Diversity, is listed as one of Crain’s Chicago Business 2021 Notable Executives in DEI. 

June 23, 2021: Anti-Violence Groups Partner To Curb Chicago Shootings (WBEZ)

Reset checks in with three Chicago anti-violence groups who are training and deploying peacekeepers to Chicago neighborhoods experiencing the highest number of shootings this summer. It’s part of a new initiative from Chicago CREDCommunities Partnering 4 Peace and READI Chicago to tackle gun violence in the city.

May 28, 2021: CPD make changes ahead of holiday weekend in effort to help fight gun violence (WGN Chicago)

April 8, 2021: Mayor Lightfoot Wants To Know Who Gave 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo The Gun Police Say He Had, But Repercussions For Such Crimes Are Rare (CBS2)

Interim CEO Tom Vanden Berk speaks to CBS2 on the need for stricter gun laws. 

March 18, 2021: West Side Neighborhood Leader Honored For ‘Dedication To Empowering And Uplifting The African American Community’ (Block Club Chicago)

Claude Robinson of UCAN was awarded the Donald Stewart Fellowship from the African American Legacy Fund and the Chicago Community Trust. (Block Club Chicago)

February 19, 2021: Program for at-risk youth battles through pandemic obstacles (ABC7 Buffalo, NY)

“In-person talking is better than over the phone because I know that they’re really talking to me,” said Tolliver. “They really listen to what I’m saying.”

Since the seventh grade, Tolliver has been a part of the youth development program at UCAN Chicago on the city’s west side.

February 18, 2021: Chicago Volunteer Expo Aims To Draw Thousands To Its Weekend Event — Virtually, Of Course (WTTW)

Andrea Lee of UCAN Chicago, which provides a host of services to at-risk youth and young adults, echoed the need to rethink how best to harness the power of volunteers in the last year. (WTTW)

January 15, 2021: Virtual Polar Peace March (NBC5)

The Polar Peace March, a long-time Chicago event that occurs annually near Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, will take place virtually this year on Sunday, Jan. 17, still with the aim of creating and promoting peace. Fred Long, vice president of development at UCAN, talks about this year’s Polar Peace March and how you can raise money to help Chicago’s youth and families.

Holiday decorations are set up at the Light Up Lawndale event outside Stone Temple Baptist Church on Saturday, Dec. 19 in the North Lawndale neighborhood.

December 22, 2020: Neighbors Light Up West Side Boulevard To Let Community Know ‘They’re Cared About’ (Block Club Chicago) 

The holiday light show spanned the length of Douglas Boulevard, the first time the street has been fully decorated.

December 14, 2020: UCAN Board Appoints Tom Vanden Berk as Interim President and CEO

November 18, 2020: Mental health issues more likely to affect communities of color during the holidays: ‘This is the time where people can bottom out’ (Chicago Tribune)

November 17, 2020: WGN-TV presents a half-hour WGN News special Behind the Headline: Chicago Violence (WGN)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the ongoing gun violence epidemic has worsened the city’s public health crisis.


October 6, 2020: At-Risk Chicago Youth Receive Free Tuition As part of Wahl Professional’s Innovative Fade It Forward™ Program (OTC Beauty Magazine)

On September 22nd, Wahl Clipper Corporation’s Professional division and Chicago social service organization UCAN awarded full scholarships to four students to attend Larry’s Barber College as part of the Wahl Professional Fade it ForwardTM program.

September 25, 2020: Wahl’s Fade it Forward Mentorship Program

Wahl Professional partnered with UCAN and His & Hers Barber School to create the Wahl “Fade It Forward” Mentorship Program. ABC7 visited our Drost Harding campus in North Lawndale to meet this year’s winners!

June 17, 2020: How Violence Interrupters Brokered An End To Anti-Black Attacks In A Latino Neighborhood (Block Club Chicago

NORTH LAWNDALE — Violence interrupters helped ease tensions when anti-Black violence erupted in some predominantly Latino communities at the start of June.

June 2, 2020: West Side Violence Interrupters Shift From Stopping Shootings To Cleaning Up Neighborhoods Hit Hard By Looting (Block Club Chicago)

Youth organizers need volunteers and donations to continue cleanups in West Garfield Park and North Lawndale.

May 5, 2020: Lawndale Residents Form Rapid Response Crew To Sew, Distribute Masks for Neighbors (Block Club Chicago)

Masks then are distributed to residents through the NLCCC network and community partners such as West Side Mutual Aid and UCAN, which shares resources through its violence interrupters street outreach team. The group is currently working to fill a request by Legacy Charter School for 1,000 masks.

April 23, 2020: Former Gang Members Wanted to Stop Gun Violence in Chicago. Now They’re Fighting the Spread of a Deadly Virus. (Mother Jones) 

“We have a lot of heroes in our community—police officers, firemen, nurses—but we also have these heroes, these guys who are not only trying to stop the violence, but are also trying to stop the violence of this virus.” – Frank Perez, UCAN Director of Violence Intervention and Prevention Services

April 17, 2020: On The West Side, Violence Interrupters Have A New Message: Wash Your Hands (Block Club Chicago)

“We already had an epidemic called violence,” Frank Perez said. “But now we have another epidemic that is disproportionately affecting Black and Brown communities.”

March 17, 2020: Already Fighting One Public Health Crisis, Chicago’s Gun Violence Interrupters Take on Coronavirus (The Trace)

“When we give them the option to work from home, they want to be out [on the street],” said Adrienne Johnson, who heads violence prevention efforts for UCAN, a youth-focused social services organization that employs more than a dozen outreach workers in the North Lawndale and Roseland neighborhoods. “They’re looked at as a resource and knowledgeable in our community.”

February 28, 2020: Editorial: Chicago Forward — The toughest cases demand the most attention. Will you foster a child? (Chicago Tribune)

The Chicago Tribune sat down with UCAN alumni Kemisha Swan to talk about youth in care, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and more. (Chicago Tribune)

January 19, 2020: Polar Peace March urges all to ‘stop the violence and start the love’ (WGN9)

For six years, members of St. Paul’s Church and the nonprofit UCAN have organized the “Polar Peace March” in January to call for peace. They say the march is meant to remind residents of more affluent neighborhoods that some areas are still plagued by violence.

The marches raised $350,000 over the years to support violence-prevention efforts at UCAN. The effort is done in the memory of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., and held the day before the nation honors him.

January 17, 2020: Gov. Pritzker signs law removing driver’s license suspension as penalty for non-moving violations (ABC7)

Pritzker Signs Law Ending Driver’s License Suspensions Over Unpaid Parking Tickets (NBC5)

January 13, 2020: 6th Annual Polar Peace March Hosted by ‘UCAN’ Returns (NBC5)

NBC 5’s LeeAnn Trotter sits down with the Associate VP of Development at “UCAN,” Tamara Reed Tran, to talk about how the organization helps build strong youth and families who have suffered from trauma by helping them heal. The 6th annual Polar Peace March will take place Jan. 19 at 11:15 a.m. at St. Pauls United Church.

November 20, 2019: Chicago Youth Will Meet To Talk About How To End City’s Gun Violence (Block Club Chicago)

CHICAGO — A Youth Peace Summit will bring together nearly 100 young Chicagoans to talk about ending violence in the city.

October 23, 3019: Free Legal Aid Coming To West And South Sides Thanks To Communities Partnering For Peace (Block Club Chicago)

The Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services is dedicating a team to give legal help for everything from landlord disputes to booted cars to record expungements at eight nonprofits that make up Communities Partnering for Peace, featuring UCAN. (Block Club Chicago)

September 16, 2019: Advocate to Serve as City’s Director of  Violence Prevention (Chicago Tribune)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s choice to be director of violence prevention is a longtime anti-violence worker in Chicago, her administration announced. Norman Livingston Kerr is a Chicago Public Schools graduate and former director of CeaseFire. He also worked at UCAN as the former Vice President of Violence Intervention and Prevention Services. (Chicago Tribune)

June 24, 2019: Paddle Up! Chinatown’s Dragon Boat Race Hits the Chicago River (WTTW)

“So this is our first time, but what I love about it is people are just here hanging out,” said Andrea Lee of UCAN. “We’ve gotten to meet a lot of great people and found ways we might be able to work together.”

June 10, 2019: West Side Teens Score Scholarships, Leadership Awards (Block Club Chicago)

Meet the five award winners of UCAN’s 2019 Youth Leadership Awards.

May 22, 2019: Ex-gang members and concerned neighbors say they need help from new mayor to fight violence in Chicago (Chicago Tribune)

The Trib discusses two city wide programs UCAN participates in, the READI program and Light up The Night, and how they are working to curb violence in the city. (Chicago Tribune)

May 2019: “I’m Amazed by What They Do” (Chicago Tribune)

Bears’ Tarik Cohen and George McCaskey connect with Chicago men trying to reject gun violence. (Chicago Tribune)

March 31, 2019: Program gives next generation of barbers the skills, tools needed to start a career (WGN)

February  20, 2019: Restorative Justice Community Court Graduation (WGN)

January 20, 2019: Polar Peace March 

This was the chant approximately 300 people marched to Jan. 20. on a day when temperatures fell below 20 degrees. The Polar Peace March lived up to its name. (Columbia Chronicle)

January 20, 2019: Polar Peace March WGN Coverage

On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a Chicago church and nonprofit agency held a march through Lincoln Park to honor the civil rights activist’s legacy. (WGN 9)

December 23, 2018: Polar Peace March  NBC5 News


December 4, 2018: 4th Annual Youth Peace Summit

Earlier this month, teens from across the city of Chicago came out to St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in the Lincoln Park neighborhood for UCAN’s fourth annual Youth Peace Summit. The daylong event held four peer-led workshops, which paved the way for conversations on diversity, mental health and leadership. (Free Spirit Media)



November 10, 2018: 4th Annual Youth Peace Summit 

On Saturday, November 10, over 80 youth from across the city and 36 zip codes came together for the 4th annual Youth Peace Summit to share viewpoints and hear each other’s perspectives in hopes of cultivating a more cohesive and peaceful city. (ABC7 Chicago)

October 28, 2018: Peacehub Mini Grants Showcase

ABC7 visited UCAN headquarters on for our Peacehub showcase that highlighted what youth did with 15 privately funded mini-grants. (ABC7 Chicago)

October 28, 2018: UCAN Wants To Curb North Lawndale Violence

On the streets making up the 10th District, police have logged more than 140 shootings this year, and North Lawndale is doing what it can to put that violence in its rear-view mirror. (CBS Chicago)

October 24, 2018: To end gun violence in Chicago, should we focus on quick fixes or root causes? Yes.

The debate often is whether it’s more important to focus on immediate solutions or to take a longer view and address its root causes. A new survey shows that this is a false choice. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

June 8, 2018: In hopes of stopping bloodshed, a multimillion-dollar effort is providing jobs, therapy to city’s most violent

Heartland Alliance, whose efforts started up about nine months ago, has partnered with seven social service organizations, including UCAN and North Lawndale Employment Network, to create READI Chicago. (Chicago Tribune)

May 23, 2018: UCAN Hosts Successful Impact Youth Conference at Gary Comer Center

More than 500 Chicago youth and youth advocates convened to address the real-life challenges our youth face like violence and trauma at the 4th Annual Impact Youth Conference on May 11-12 at the Gary Comer Youth Center. (WGN-TV)

May 14, 2018: UCAN President/CEO Assists Foster Mother with Changing DCFS Regulations

When an 11 year old girl died, her grieving foster mom took on a fight that will forever change how DCFS responds when a young ward of the state passes away. Castleberry turned her anger into action, reaching out to the head of a private child welfare agency, Zack Schrantz. (CBS Chicago)

April 25, 2018: UCAN’s North Lawndale Campus Wins Neighborhood Development Award

The Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards recently named UCAN, a non-profit headquartered in North Lawndale, as this year’s recipient of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project (Chicago Citizen).


January 14, 2018:  Chicago church holds march on eve of MLK day

On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a Chicago church led a march to honor the civil rights leader’s legacy and call for an end to the violence that has troubled the city (Chicago Tribune).


December 31, 2017: The 4th Annual Polar Peace March is previewed on NBC 5’s Making a Difference segment. 

September 30, 2017: ‘One child led to 132’: Hawthorn Woods couple finds spiritual rewards in foster care

Over the span of nearly 30 years as a foster parent, Vrenios, currently a UCAN foster parent, has become a pro tending to infants and children in the care of the state. Vrenios and her husband, Tom, so far have touched the lives of 132 kids, including two children the couple adopted into their own family. (Chicago Tribune)

September 12, 2017: UCAN’s Vice President of Violence Intervention and Prevention services sits down with Chicago Tonight. 

An anonymous $12 million donation to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital will be used to treat child abuse, mental health issues and the direct and indirect effects of violence on Chicago’s youth. The violence prevention program within the social services nonprofit UCAN will be one of several organizations partnering with the hospital to make use of the donation. (Chicago Tonight)

August 31, 2017: UCAN Now Serving Students through Former Beacon Therapeutic Day School 

Beacon Therapeutic Center, which for many years offered services to help at-risk youth on the south side, closed over the summer. Fortunately, UCAN, a social service agency providing many similar programs, was able to step in and take over and insure that the services provided at Beacon Therapeutic Day School continue at UCAN Academy. (

July 21, 2017:  New court to bring victims, offenders face-to-face to hash out resolutions

From Right: State Attorney Kim Foxx, Ald. Michael Scott Jr., Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli, Circuit Judge Colleen f. Sheehan, Chief Judge Tim Evans, Dr. Carolyn Vessel, Jose Wilson

A new Cook County court in the North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side aims to bring victims of nonviolent crime face-to-face with the offenders to hash out a resolution (Chicago Tribune).

The first of its kind in Illinois, [the Restorative Justice Community Court] will open Aug 31. The court will convene every Thursday in a conference room at UCAN. … Everyone — the defendant, victim, and judge — takes a seat at the same table to discuss the crime (Chicago Sun-Times). 

It’s one of the chronic problems of the criminal justice system: a revolving door of repeat offenders shuttling back and forth between prison and neighborhood. Now, [the Restorative Justice Community Court] aims to break that cycle. It puts the community in charge of deciding what to do with offenders, and their victims. (Fox32 Chicago)

“This is truly the people’s court,” Cook County Circuit Court Judge Colleen Sheehan says. “The community has the power to determine how they heal from the harm of crime and conflict. It is the community that has the wisdom and humanity to do this. Every human being in every community wants safety and a sense of belonging. This court helps provide the structure and support so the community of North Lawndale can bring that healing home.” (Windy City Media Group)

Restorative justice courts not only offer closure to victims, but have major public safety and taxpayer benefits as well. Restorative justice could potentially save the state $1,561 per participant when compared to prison sentences. The state could also see cost savings from a reduction in recidivism. (Illinois Policy)

The Circuit Court of Cook County received a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance to fund the court. It was one of 10 similar grants from the federal agency, totaling $2 million in assistance across the country. ” “The community and the system is so committed to the process, that after the grant has come and gone, we still anticipate continuing with the court.” (City Bureau)

Now open every Thursday, the court was designed so there’d be no separation between judge, court personnel and defendants—everyone sits around the same table. There are no jail cells where people await judgment, no one arrives in handcuffs, and everyone at the table introduces themselves before proceedings begin. Defendants are given time to ask questions and meet with their lawyers for legal counsel. There is no physical barrier blocking defendants from their family members and loved ones. (Chicago Defender – September 21st)

July 7, 2017: Beacon Therapeutic School Being Absorbed By UCAN

UCAN, which operates a therapeutic day school in Humboldt Park, has expanded to oversee the operation of Beacon Therapeutic Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Beverly. The nearly 100 students at Beacon Therapeutic’s two campuses will now fall under the umbrella of the UCAN Academy. Read the article here.

Youth speaking at Peace Conference ©Ozzie Ramsay Photography | ALL Rights Reserved 2017

May 2, 2017: Peace Hub Youth Conference Addresses Chicago Violence 

Nearly 1,000 young adults and social service professionals are expected to attend a conference … to talk about the daily challenges of life in Chicago. Read more here.

May 2, 2017: WePlay Offers Safe Space, Community at Chicago at Chicago Children’s Museum 

For 12 weeks, about eight teenage mothers and their children spent a few hours every other week at the Chicago Children’s Museum, eating lunch, playing and exploring the exhibits. Read here.

April 30, 2017: “Shaking the trees and making it rain for minority suppliers on the West Side.” 

“The Doris Davenport Show” featured an hour-long live segment broadcast on Facebook with UCAN CEO Zack Schrantz and UCAN Executive Vice President Claude Robinson who detailed how the organization exceeded its minority supplier spending goal in the construction of UCAN’s Drost Harding Campus in North Lawndale. Watch here.

April 27, 2017: UCAN offers support for gun dealer licensing bill. 

UCAN, along with the Joyce Foundation, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, and the Brady Campaign came together to boost support for a bill that holds corrupt gun dealers accountable. Check it out here.

April 20, 2017: UCAN’s high diversity standards for campus project highlighted in Crain’s Chicago Business. 

UCAN created an opportunity to make some tough decisions, but our diversity standards are as high as the regard with which we hold the youth and families we serve. Read it here.

April 18, 2017: UCAN Summer Jobs Program participant highlighted as Speaker at Sen. Durbin’s press conference to announce support for at-risk youth. 

Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Robin Kelly announced new legislation to increase access to employment opportunities for at-risk youth through the HERO for At-Risk Youth Act and the Creating Pathways for Youth Employment Act. Curtis Martin, featured at the press conference at the Chicago Urban League, is a participant in UCAN’s Summer Jobs & Beyond program. Watch it here.

Mayor Emanuel speaks about reducing gun violence

April 18, 2017: Mayor Rahm Emanuel holds press conference on reducing gun violence at UCAN Headquarters. 

Mayor Emanuel meets with youth served by UCAN Chicago and stands alongside local leaders to address the need for strong and sensible gun dealer licensing laws as a key part of reducing gun violence. Watch it here.



February 21, 2017: Chicago Tonight’s Maya Miller sat down with Patrick Daniels, youth development coach at UCAN. 

Daniels discusses North Lawndale and how UCAN is working to help young men in the community avoid the pitfalls of gangs and gun violence. Check it out here.


February 4, 2017: Crain’s Chicago Business covers the Get In Chicago initiative and gives perspectives on why the program has not worked as intended. 

UCAN CEO Zack Schrantz talks about the need for more funding to make an impact on a larger number of youth in North Lawndale. Read it here.


January 29, 2017: The Chicago Tribune’s Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz’s feature on the low job opportunities for Chicago youth 

UCAN mentee, Darron Gunnings, speaks to the Tribune about the positive impact UCAN has made in his life. Continue reading here.


January 27, 2017: Sam Charles of the Chicago Sun-Times covers the high-rate of violence in Beat 1133 on Chicago’s West Side

UCAN Vice President of Violence Prevention and Intervention Services Norman Kerr speaks on how trauma, due to exposure to violence, has impacted the majority of the youth served by UCAN’s 360 Community program. Check it out here.


January 15, 2017: NBC 5 Chicago’s footage from the Polar Peace March 

Christian Farr covers the Polar Peace March and speaks with St. Pauls UCC’s Reverend Matt Fitzgerald.

January 12, 2017: DNA Info Features the Polar Peace March.

Ted Cox interviews UCAN CEO Zack Schrantz about the 2017 Polar Peace March . Read the full article here.


January 6, 2017: NBC 5 Chicago’s pre-event coverage of the 2017 Polar Peace March.

LeeAnn Trotter talks with Polar Peace March founder, Jan Bail, about the how the origins of the event and St. Pauls connection with UCAN. Watch the interview here.


October 20 , 2016: ABC 7 Coverage of UCAN’s 360 Community Program

Leah Hope of ABC 7 sits down with UCAN staff and youth to discuss trauma and violence and what UCAN is doing to help young people. View the segment here:  Read the full story here.


July 7, 2016: UCAN’s Move to North Lawndale Featured in the Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Sun-Times spoke with UCAN leadership and supporters regarding the potential impact the move will have on the community. Read the full story here.

July 7, 2016: ABC 7 Chicago Coverage of UCAN’s Ribbon Cutting

ABC 7 highlights UCAN’s  move into the John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Center in North Lawndale  Read more here.

June 9, 2016: UCAN CEO Addresses Gun Violence with the Chicago Tribune

Tom Vanden Berk speaks on the city’s pervasive gun violence and his commitment to youth who’ve been traumatized by the violence. Read the full article here

June 8, 2016: Covers UCAN’s Move Into North Lawndale

Claude Robinson, Vice President of External Affairs and Diversity speaks on UCAN’s focus to become part of the community,  Read more here.

June 1, 2016: UCAN Vice President of Development and Government Affairs Speaks with Dan Profit and Illinois Policy

Fred Long and AE Marketing Group CEO talk violence prevention, education and opportunity in Chicago. Watch the video here

May 25, 2016: UCAN’s Vice President of Violence Prevention Speaks with On Point with Tom Ashbrook

Norman Kerr spoke with Tom Ashbrook from NPR’s On Point regarding predictive policing and how UCAN uses predictive measures to engage at-risk youth. Listen to the audio here

May 20, 2016: Hyde Park Herald Covers “Catalyst for Change” Panel Featuring Norman Kerr

UCAN’s Vice President of Violence Prevention Norman Kerr was a featured panelist in a discussion to address the mental health issues that youth face which contribute to violence in Chicago. Read the full article here

March 17, 2016: Crain’s Chicago Business Features UCAN Youth Leadership Awards Dinner Chair Ron Gidwitz

Ron Gidwitz speaks to Crain’s about his methods to help UCAN reach the fundraising goal for this year’s event Read the full case study here

March 14, 2016: AE Marketing Group’s Case Study on UCAN

AE Marketing Group digs into UCAN’s branding and marketing strategies. Read the full case study here

February 22, 2016: UCAN CEO Thomas Vanden Berk Announces Transition

CEO Thomas Vanden Berk Announces Transition to CEO Emeritus Role Effective July 2016. Read full press release here.

January 20, 2016: Spotlight on UCAN’s Teen Parenting Service Network Program

Page nine of the Chicago Defender highlights the story of Keisha, a UCAN youth, who received guidance through the TPSN program. Read full article here.

January 17, 2016: Polar Peace Coverage on NBC 5 Chicago

Live coverage of the Polar Peace March from NBC 5 Chicago.  

January 13, 2016: Polar Peace March Preview

Preview of the 2nd Annual Polar Peace March by event sponsor NBC 5 Chicago.  Read full article here.


Sept 8, 2015: The Rooftops Project Feature

A behind the scenes and in-depth look at the key players within UCAN’s new campus construction and move to North Lawndale. Read the full article here.

August 8, 2015: Ribbon Cutting coverage

DNAinfo highlights why UCAN’s Therapeutic Youth Home will provide holistic services and become a resource for the North Lawndale community.  Read the full article.

August 4, 2015: Therapeutic Youth Home Feature

UCAN’s President, Zack Schrantz, explains the importance of security, privacy, and healing in this Chicago Tribune Article. Click here to read more. 

July 16, 2015: Youth Leadership Awards Dinner

Coverage of our 16th Annual Youth Leadership Awards Dinner appeared in the Sun-Times! Click here to view the article.

April 27, 2015: #Unforgotten Art Project

UCAN CEO Thomas Vanden Berk appeared in a video for the Unforgotten Art Project. He shared his own experience of loss with gun violence and his contribution to the project. Watch the video here.

April 10, 2015: The New (old) Sears Tower

UCAN is listed as one of the many organizations filling the old Sears tower in North Lawndale, now the John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols tower.  Read the full article here.

March 12, 2015

UCAN President and CEO Tom VandenBerk’s letter to the editor was featured in the Sun-Times. Tom spoke on behalf of the agency to oppose eliminating needed services for 18-21 year old DCFS wards as has been proposed by the governor. Read the letter here!

March 6, 2015

UCAN youth and former Youth Leadership Award Winner Annie Audenas was featured in an article in the Chicago Tribune further highlighting the issues with the proposed elimination of funding to the over 18 years old foster care population in Illinois. Read the article here.

February 28, 2015

UCAN staff and former clients write an editorial in response to the proposed budget cuts, and how they would effect the system of care in Illinois. Read the article here.

January 18, 2015: Polar Peace March

UCAN supporters, member of the St. Pauls family, and advocates will march in solidarity with those – especially youth – who experience violence and its trauma throughout Chicago.  This family-friendly event honoring the meory of Dr. King welcomes adults and children of all ages. Click here to see the video footage from WGN – Channel 9.


UCAN youth gives back to the Chicago Community with the VING project, December 29, 2014.

UCAN youth was featured as one of the participants in the inaugural year of the VING project, which is dedicated to empowering youth by giving them the power to give back to those that have inspired them. Read the full article here.

Success of UCAN’s 15th Annual Youth Leadership Awards featured in Crain’s Chicago Business, June 11, 2014.

Lisa Bertagnoli, Crain’s reporter was inspired by UCAN’s “up and comers” highlighting the exciting awards and events of a truly successful fundraiser to support our mission. Click here to view the article.

UCAN’s Patrick Daniels explains the importance of UCAN’s work in Chicago People’s Voice, March 6, 2014

Patrick Daniels, a youth development coach with UCAN in North Lawndale, spoke about the importance of UCAN’s presence in Chicago and his passion for UCAN’s mission in a Chicago People’s Voice article. Click here to view the article

UCAN’s Norman Kerr quoted in MSNBC update of President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, February 14, 2014

President Obama recently announced a new initiative to focus on the needs and well being of young men of color.  Named “My Brother’s Keeper”, the initiative will draw on partnerships between foundations and businesses to provide a range of opportunities and strategies to help bolster their lives. Click here to read the full article.

UCAN mentioned in CBS coverage of Senator Dick Durbin visit, January 25, 2014

Senator Dick Durbin visited the Diermeier Future Leaders Now program site to observe the program and speak with a small group of youth about the issues impacting their lives. Please click here to read the CBS coverage.


UCAN mentioned in Crain’s article on how to engage donors, November 25, 2013

UCAN was mentioned in a Crain’s article “Donor Management 101: How to give thanks.” The article talks about different Chicago nonprofits and their thoughtful ways of recognizing donors and supporters. Longtime UCAN supporters Jeff and Julie Diermeier are mentioned for the Diermeier Future Leaders Now program. Please click here to read the article.

UCAN mentioned in web article on the film ‘The Painter’, September 12, 2013

UCAN was mentioned as a participating non profit organization in this web article on the upcoming film ‘The Painter’. Kevin Cooper tackles the disturbing subject of how violence is robbing of our youth of innocence. Click here to read the article

UCAN’s Groundbreaking Ceremony for new Therapeutic Youth Home coverage in Channel 2 CBS Chicago, September 12, 2013

UCAN’s groundbreaking ceremony was mentioned on Channel 2 CBS Chicago. The ceremony included remarks from Deputy Governor Cristal Thomas, Alderman Michael Chandler, Commissioner Robert Steele, Senator Patricia Van Pelt and UCAN youth Chase Larkin and North Lawndale residents. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s wife, Amy Rule was also present at the event. Click here to read the coverage.

UCAN mentioned in Fox32 news channel segment on Safe Passage for Chicago Public School children, September 3, 2013

UCAN was mentioned in a segment on Fox channel 32 coverage of ‘Safe Passage’ route for Chicago Public school children. UCAN is providing ten community watchers to ensure safe passage along routes to Hughes Elementary School. Click here to watch the segment.

UCAN one of 11 groups to receive funding for anti-crime project,  mentioned in Crain’s article on Get In Chicago, June 27, 2013

UCAN is one of 11 groups receiving first round of funding for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s anti-crime project. The Public Safety Action Committee, which is headed by Chicago business executives, will dole out $1.7 million to the nonprofits that will in turn mentor 3,000 young people and offer conflict resolution and job training. The business group has raised $41 million for the five-year project with a goal of at least $50 million. Click here to read more.

UCAN’s 14th Annual Youth Leadership Award Dinner mentioned in Splash, June 13, 2013 

UCAN’s 14th Annual Youth Leadership Awards Dinner was featured in Splash article on the recently held Youth Leadership Award Dinner at Soldier Field. Click here to read more.

UCAN’s 14th Annual Youth Leadership Award Dinner mentioned in Crain’s, June 13, 2013

UCAN’s 14th Annual Youth Leadership Award Dinner was mentioned in Crain’s Chicago Business. The article mentions this year’s award winners and the honoring of John D. Nichols as this year’s UCAN Impact Awardee. Click here to read more.

UCAN’s 14th Annual Youth Leadership Award Dinner mentioned in this Modern Luxury events post, May 23, 2013

UCAN’s 14th Annual Youth Leadership Awards Dinner is mentioned in this Modern Luxury event posting, click here to read more. The Awards Dinner this year will be held at The United Club at Soldier Field on June 6th 2013. This year, Mr. John D. Nichols will be presented the John D. Nichols Impact Award and five exceptional young people will be recognized for their academic and personal achievement and receive scholarships for higher education.

UCAN’s CITY campus is featured in this Chicago Tribune article, May 6, 2013

UCAN CEO Tom Vanden Berk is featured in this Chicago Tribune article on UCAN’s new CITY campus. In the article Tom speaks about what CITY will do for the North Lawndale community. Please click here to read more.

UCAN’s CITY campus featured in Huffington Post article, March 30, 2013

UCAN’s CITY campus is featured in this Huffington Post article. The article describes UCAN’s new CITY campus as a “safe house” for youth and communities in the North Lawndale area. Click here to read more.

UCAN’s CITY campus featured in DNAinfo article on UCAN’s violence prevention efforts, March 30, 2013

UCAN’s CITY campus is described as a “safe house” in this DNAinfo article. The article describes UCAN’s new CITY campus including a football sized Therapeutic Youth Home and the model UCAN has created for violence prevention. Click here to read more.

UCAN featured in N’DGIO web article on Talented Team of Minority and Women-Owned firms Selected to Design and Build UCAN’s CITY campus, March 21, 2013

UCAN is featured in this N’DGIO web article on UCAN’s comittment to minority and women-owned firms and their involvement in the building of our new CITY campus. Click here to read more.

UCAN in WGN’s Chicago’s Very Own, March 20, 2013:

UCAN is featured in WGN’s episode of Chicago’s Very Own. This segment features UCAN youth, Cordell Smith and Jasmine Allen and UCAN CEO Tom Vanden Berk and CITY. Vice President Norman Kerr Please click here to view.

UCAN’s CITY Project mentioned in this Chicago Sun-Times article at the site of the former Sears Roebuck & Co. headquarters, March 19, 2013

UCAN’s new CITY project has been described as a $32 million youth-services campus in this Chicago Sun-Times article. The article quotes our CEO Tom Vanden Berk and Governing Board Chair Judith C. Rice Click here to read more.

UCAN mentioned in Chicago article about the production of short film, “The Painter”, February 5, 2013

UCAN was mentioned in this web article on short film “The Painter” written and directed by Kevin Cooper. Executive Vice President External Affairs & Diversity Claude Robinson and Chief Development Officer Barbara Stone are both quoted in the article. Please click here to read more. 

UCAN’s Vice President CITY Norman Kerr on Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor, February 4, 2013 

UCAN’s Vice President CITY project Norman Kerr appeared on The O’Reilly Factor with radio host Matt McGill. Norman talked about how gun violence affects youth in Chicago. Click here to see the video clip.

UCAN CEO mentioned in Chicago Tribune featuring parents who have lost children to Chicago’s rampant gun violence, February 3, 2013

UCAN’s CEO Tom Vanden Berk talks about the loss of his son Tommy Vanden Berk in 1992 in this article in the Chicago Tribune featuring parents who have lost children to Chicago’s rampant gun violence. Please click here to read more.

UCAN’s CEO Tom Vanden Berk mentioned in Arlington Heights Patch on Gun Panel for Reasonable Gun Control, February 1, 2013

UCAN’s CEO Tom Vanden Berk particpated in a round table panel hosted by Congressman Rep. Brad Schneider. Particpants included Wheeling Police Chief William Benson, North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham, Executive Director Family First Center of Lake County and gun owner Skip Robertson. Please click here to read more.

UCAN’s Vice President CITY project Norman Kerr  quoted in this msnbc article on Chicago honor student who was shot a week after she performed at President’s inauguration, January 30, 2013

A week after performing at President Obama’s inauguration, Hadiya Pendleton was gunned down in a park in Chicago. UCAN’s Vice Presdient CITY project Norman Kerr is quoted in this msnbc article talking about youth and violence. Please click here to read more.

UCAN CEO Tom Vanden Berk quoted in The Daily Northwestern at a Evanston Martin Luther King Day event, January 24, 2013

Tom Vanden Berk was the keynote speaker at the annual celebration, called Diverse Evanston Walks United, to give youth in the community an opportunity to speak out against violence. The event featured singing, slam poetry and breakdance interwoven with video clips of interviews with youth on violence prevention. Please click here to read more.


UCAN’s Tom Vanden Berk, Norman Kerr and youth Cordell Smith mentioned in MSNBC article on Rising Toll of Gun Violence in Chicago, December 20, 2012

Read more about UCAN’s Therapeutic Youth Home young person Cordell Smith in this interesting article on the rising toll of gun violence in Chicago. CEO Tom Vanden Berk and Vice President CITY project Norman Kerr are also quoted. Please click here to read the article in full.

The Chicago Sun Times, UCAN CEO Tom Vanden Berk referenced in column on appeal of the conceal and carry law, December 20 2012

UCAN’s CEO Tom Vanden Berk is mentioned in this article on the appeal of the conceal and carry law in the state of Illinois. The article also mentions Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Please click here to read more.

The Sacramento Bee,  360° Model Named a Mutual of America 2012 Community Partnership Award Winner, November 20, 2012

UCAN’s 360° Model was named as a Mutual of America 2012 Community Partnership Award Winner this last week. The Mutual of America Community Partnership Award annually honors the outstanding contributions that 10 nonprofit organizations, in partnership with public, private and other social sector organizations, make to society. Please click here to read more and here to read an article covering the award in the Sacramento Bee.

UCAN featured in ICOY web article on rising Gun Violence numbers in November

UCAN was featured in this article on ICOY’s website. UCAN’s CEO Thomas Vanden Berk and Vice President CITY Norman Kerr comment on gun violence in lieu of the recent upsurge in homicide numbers in Chicago. Please click here to read more.

Roosevelt University student newspaper features UCAN’s Pamela Wilson in this article on University students mentoring UCAN youth, October, 29, 2012

This Torch article features Roosevelt University Psychology students who recently visited UCAN’s Therapeutic Youth Home to mentor UCAN youth. Pamela Wilson, UCAN’s Therapeutic Youth Home recreational coordinator talks about the home and how youth are provided therapy treatment plans. Please click here to read the article in full., UCAN’s Project Visible Man program mentioned in article featuring Chicago tactical efforts to end gun violence, September 25, 2012

The featured UCAN’s Project Visible Man program as one the youth initiatives working to end gun violence in Chicago. The article describes the program as one that focuses on providing support and resources to children who have been exposed to violence, abuse and neglect. Please click here to read the article in full.

CBS Channel 2 Chicago, UCAN event mentioned in news piece covering students who were honored for participating in anti-violence programs, September 10, 2012

CBS Chicago covered the “Youth for More Safer and Caring Communities 2012 Youth/Adult Partnership Day” at the South Side Community Art Center that was hosted jointly by UCAN, Target Corp., the city of Chicago Mayor’s Office and other youth-focused community organizations on Saturday September 8th 2012. The event showcased youth-led violence prevention projects that were successfully implemented this past summer in Chicago. Click here to read more.

ABC WLS-TV Chicago News, UCAN event mentioned as part of coalition hoping to stop Chicago violence, September 9, 2012

ABC News covered the UCAN and Target Corp. event “Youth for More Safer and Caring Communities 2012 Youth/Adult Partnership Day” at the South Side Community Art Center. Supt. Garry McCarthy, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, and Felicia Davis Executive Director of the City of Chicago’s Office of Public Engagement were present among others to applaud the impressive list of youth-led violence prevention projects that were successfully implemented this past summer in Chicago. Click here to read more.

The Chicago Tribune, UCAN event commemorates youth-led summer anti-violence campaign, September 8, 2012

UCAN in partnership with Target Corp., the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office and other youth-focused community organizations, hosted the “Youth for More Safer and Caring Communities 2012 Youth/Adult Partnership Day” at the South Side Community Art Center. Supt. Garry McCarthy was at the event and talked about gun violence in Chicago. Click here to read more.

The Council for Health and Human Service Ministries News, September 4, 2012

UCAN’s Director of Spiritual Formation Rev. Tyrone Fowlkes is featured in this CHHSM news article about positive experiences helping youth become aware of identity, purpose and service to others. Click here to read more.

The Chicago Tribune, CEO Tom Vanden Berk’s letter to the editor, August 5, 2012

UCAN’s CEO Tom Vanden Berk’s letter to the editor on “Gun Ownership” appeared in The Chicago Tribune’s Voice of the People. Please click here to read more

Youth Today features UCAN staff member Bonnie Wade in an article on homelessness and LGBTQ youth in Chicago, August 2, 2012

Bonnie Wade, Associate Director of UCAN’s LGBTQ Host Home program was interviewed by Youth Today on the growing issue of homeless LGBTQ youth in the Chicago area. Please click here to read more.

Catalyst Chicago features UCAN staff members Michael Wilson and Denise Gray-Bunkley in an article on youth and trauma, June 18, 2012

Denise Gray-Bunkley Director of Clinical Counseling Services (CCS) and Michael Wilson Clinical Supervisor for (CCS ) were mentioned in this Catalyst Chicago article on students who witness shootings, lose a parent or experience other trauma and how therapy can help them. Please click here to read more.

The Chicago Crusader features UCAN and Trinity United Church of Christ 3-on-3 basketball classic, June 16, 2012

UCAN is featured in this article covering the fifth annual basketball classic at Lowden Homes. The article mentions how churches like Trinity UCC and social services organizations like UCAN can collaborate on events like these to encourage community building. Please click here to read more.

Chicago Tribune features a video from Chicago Bear Brandon Marshall’s visit to UCAN Academy, May 21st, 2012

>This video posted on the Chicago Tribune Youtube channel features Brandon Marshall being interviewed during this recent UCAN Academy visit on May 16th, 2012. See video here.

Chicago Sports Network features a video from Chicago Bear Brandon Marshall’s visit to UCAN Academy, May 16th, 2012

Brandon was interviewed by the media at UCAN Academy, he then visited with students as well as Project Visible Man participants and spoke about leadership and his therapeutic experiences. See CSN’s video interview here.

Chicago Bears website features story on wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s visit to UCAN Academy, May 16th, 2012

Brandon spoke with UCAN Academy students and Project Visible Man participants during his visit – read more here. Chicago mentions LGBTQ Host Home Program benefit: The Neo-Futurists’ Pride Weekend Presents 30 Queer Plays in 60 Straight Minutes, May 9th, 2012

This year’s Neo-Futurists annual Pride Weekend benefit: 30 Queer Plays in 60 Straight Minutes features favorite queer-sexuality and gender bending themed plays from the past year. UCAN’s LGBTQ Host Home Program is this year’s chosen beneficiary. Please click here to read more. 

UCAN’s 2012 Teen Gun Survey: Local Efforts to Save our Children-N’DIGO Weekly Magapaper, May 3rd-9th, 2012

UCAN’s 2012 Teen Gun Survey was covered in this special feature on teens and guns in the N’DGIO weekly magapaper. Please click here to read more.

UCAN’s 2012 Teen Gun Survey: 44% of teens can easily obtain handguns-The Inquisitr, April 19th, 2012

UCAN just released the 2012 Teen Gun Survey results at a press conference featuring UCAN youth, Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, representatives of the Office of the Mayor, Chicago Police Department, and Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney, and Reverend Robin Hood. The survey findings and the press conference were covered in this >article in The Inquisitr.

UCAN’s 2012 Teen Gun Survey reveals that 44% of teens could get a handgun if they wanted to-WBEZ 91.5, April 18, 2012

UCAN just released the 2012 Teen Gun Survey results at a press conference featuring UCAN youth, Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, representatives of the Office of the Mayor, Chicago Police Department, and Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney, and Reverend Robin Hood. The press conference was covered in this WBEZ 91.5 article and news piece.

UCAN chosen for CHA Housing Opportunity and Services Together (HOST) Program, March 2012

UCAN is partnering with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) to test the innovative HOST Program in Altgeld Gardens. This unique two year pilot effort uses housing as a platform for services to improve the life chances of vulnerable children, youth and adults. To download an article about HOST by the Urban Institute, please click here.

The Chicago Tribune, February 2, 2012

UCAN STAR Christopher Williams is featured in this Tribune article. Chris shares his story of growing up in the Illinois child welfare system and talks about UCAN’s STARS program. Click here to read the article.


UPN’s Perspective with Monique Caradine, December 25th, 2011

On Christmas day UCAN’s very own Claude Robinson and Chase Larkin appeared on Perspective.  Claude and Chase spoke about UCAN’s holiday toy drive efforts, our CITY initiative, and how people can get involved and support UCAN. Watch the program by clicking here.  (Please note that UCAN’s segment begins around the 17 minute mark)

Windy City Times, December 21, 2011

Associate Director of UCAN’s Host Home Program Bonnie Wade participated in a LGBT breakfast hosted by State Rep. Ann Williams on December 12th. Bonnie along with others brought pressing issues to William’s attention including anti-bullying policies and same-sex protection. Read more about the event by clicking here

Windy City Times, November 9, 2011

UCAN’s LGBTQ Host Home program is featured in this Windy City Times article titled, UCAN confronts LGBT homelessness. The article features Bonnie Wade, Associate Director of the LGBTQ Host Home program and a UCAN LGBTQ Host Home graduate who talks about how the program helped him. Click here to read the article.

The Chicago Tribune, July, 21, 2011

UCAN CEO Tom Vanden Berk’s editorial “Our violent ways: Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was right about lax gun laws harming black teens” is featured. Click here to read this powerful article. 

Windy City Live, July, 21, 2011

UCAN is featured on Windy City Live as entrepreneur Jodi Norgaard presents a donation of dolls to our organization. Watch the clip here!

Crain’s Chicago Business, June 1, 2011

Crain’s lists UCAN’s 12th Annual Youth Leadership Awards Dinner as one of the upcoming events to attend in June!  Please click here to read the story.

CHHSM United Church of Christ News, May 31, 2011

UCAN’s Director of Spiritual Formation Reverend Tyrone Fowlkes and his work is highlighted in this piece by CHHSM, please click here to read this fascinating article. 

Windy City Times, April 27, 2011

The Windy City Times highlights UCAN’s LGBTQ Host Home Program Click here to read the story.

Streetwise, April 13-19, 2011

Streetwise examines the topic of homeless youth in Chicago, and features UCAN’s LGBTQ Host Home program. Click here to read the issue.


Illinois Department on Aging, September 2010

Illinois Department on Aging Honors Older Workers and Their Employers During Annual Awards Luncheon.  Two of UCAN’s Foster Grandparents were honored. To read the story, click here.

NBC 5 Chicago, October 2, 2010

UCAN’s Teen Gun Survey Statistics are featured in this “Education Nation” segment.  To view the story, click here.

GovMonitor, July 26, 2010

UCAN’s President & CEO Tom Vanden Berk is named to Governor Pat Quinn’s newly formed Illinois Anti-Violence Commission.  To read the article, click here.

eNews Park Forest, July 23, 2010

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $4,000,000 for projects in the state of Illinois in the Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill.  This includes $450,000 in funding to provide UCAN’s 360° Model in AUSL’s schools in the North Lawndale and Austin communities of Chicago.  To read the article, click here.

Lake County News-Sun, July 22, 2010

Agencies split health-care funding from Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County.  UCAN received $40,000 to help fund its High Risk Infant Program in northern Lake County.  To read the article, please click here.

Ebony, August 2010

“Stop killing our dreams”:  Part one of this three-part series on youth violence focuses on Chicago, where 216 young people were murdered during the first 11 months of 2009.  UCAN EVP Claude Robinson is quoted and UCAN’s Project Visible Man program is highlighted as one of the city’s solutions to this issue.  To read the article, pleas click here.

Windy City Times, June 23, 2010

“11th Annual 30 Under Thirty Honors”:  Meakose Edmond, UCAN LGBTQ Host Home Program Advisory Council member, is named to this distinguished list.  Click here to see his profile.

Windy City Times, June 23, 2010

“Let’s take PRIDE in our youth”. Click here to read an editorial by Malaundja Gayles, one of UCAN’s LGBTQ Host Home Program< youth volunteers.

Univision, June 14, 2010

“UCAN ayuda a jóvenes a lograr estudios” Click here to view Univision’s coverage of UCAN’s High School to College program.

Reminisce, April/May 2010

Former UCAN Residential Treatment Center client Robert Schaeffer reminisces about his time living in UCAN’s residential home. Click here to read the article.

The Chicago Crusader, March 6, 2010

“Youth demand action on gun violence”  UCAN teens along with IL State Senator Trotter and Congressman Quigley speak at the UCAN Teen Gun Survey news conference on Chicago’s gun violence problem and what soluctions we can accomplish as a community.  Click here to see the printed article.

Chicago Tribune, March 2, 2010

“Chicago’s handgun ban in spotlight”  Chicago teens Eddie Bland, Monica Sanders and Briana Brooks from UCAN’s Hands Without Guns speak at the UCAN  Teen Gun Survey news conference on March 1st. Click here to see the printed article and photo.

Chicago Sun-Times, March 2, 2010

“‘It was divine design,’ Chicago grandfather tells why he’s lead plaintiff in case that sets sights on city’s handgun law.  Statistics from UCAN’s Teen Gun Survey are quoted. Click here to view the article.

Chicago Red Eye, March 2, 2010

“Supreme Question:  Chicago’s handgun ban under the high court’s microscope”.  UCAN teen Monica Sanders talks about her experience with gun violence, and statistics from UCAN’s Teen Gun Survey are quoted. Click here to see the article.

ABC 7 Chicago, March 1, 2010

UCAN launches the results of its 2009 Teen Gun Survey, accompanied by Congressman Michael Quigley (IL-5) and Senator Donne Trotter (17th District).  Alarmed by increasing gun violence in their neighborhoods and schools, Chicago teens asked local, state and national policymakers to help keep them safe.  The latest national Teen Gun Survey revealed that more than one in four teens know someone who has been shot – and more than one in three teens fear being shot someday. Click here to view ABC 7’s news coverage.

Univision, March 1, 2010

“Jóvenes dicen no a las armas de fuego; Exigen más control sobre su venta.”  Click here to view Univision’s news coverage of UCAN’s Teen Gun Survey


Crain’s Chicago Business, December 28, 2009

2010 Book of Lists, Wednesday, June 9th:  UCAN, 2010 Youth Advocacy Awards Dinner.  Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Click here for full 2010 Book of Lists.

ESPN, December 28, 2009

For the Bears’ last home game of the season, one of UCAN’s youth was chosen to go down on the field and watch the opening coin toss. Click here for photos.

British Consulate-General Newsroom, December 10, 2009

UCAN STARS visit the Consulate-General to learn more about its work, career skills and job interview tips. Click here for full article.

Chicago Tribune, December 9, 2009

“Students fight youth violence; say neither gunplay nor bullying should be tolerated at school”.  UCAN’s second annual Urban Suburban Youth Summit on Gun Violence took place December 5th at George Westinghouse College Prep High School, where youth came together to build solutions to address Chicago’s violence.  “Our kids are living in dangerous times,” said UCAN spokeswoman Jodi Doane. “It’s not an anomaly any more for them to know someone who has been shot. We want violence prevention programs out in the community. The young people have the ideas, and we have to get adults to the table to support them.” Click here for full article.

Café Magazine, November/December 2009

Fostering Hope:  More Latino families are urged to open up their hearts and homes to foster children in need.  UCAN foster parent Miriam Martinez speaks about her experience with four foster children, and the need for more Latino foster families is discussed. Click here for full article.

Windy City Times, November 4, 2009

Group focuses on housing for LGBT youth.  Read this article for more information on UCAN’s LGBTQ Host Home Program and its progress. Click here for full article.

Trib Local, Oak Park/River Forest, September 23, 2009

LGBTQ Host Home Program Launches – Looking for Oak Park individuals to become Hosts! Click here for full article.

Fox TV News, June 29, 2009

It seems everyone has a story of how they’re struggling in this economy. Because of possible budget cuts, foster kids in Illinois could be at a greater disadvantage than ever before. UCAN clients Kenyale Medley-Woods and DeShawn Johnson share their experiences in the foster care system and with UCAN. Click here to view more.

Crain’s Chicago Business, June 8, 2009

CEO Tom Vanden Berk writes a letter to the editor responding to an article on gun violence against Chicago youth.

ABC 7 News, June 4, 2009

The State of Illinois says hundreds of teenagers will be matched with summer jobs thanks to federal stimulus money. Listen to UCAN CEO Tom Vanden Berk speak about how jobs can keep young people off the streets, out of trouble and away from violence, and hear from some youth that UCAN has helped to learn job skills. Click here to view more.