Mission: The organizational goal is to train, educate and empower members of impoverished and marginalized communities to organize coalitions, networks, and interventions that respond to health, social and economic issues that bind and threaten personal well being.
Target demographics: The project focuses on at-resk African American and Latino adolescents, ages 12-14 (middle school). Our organization has built a solid relationship with organizations and youth consumers in the three towns: Summit, University Park, and Kankakee.
Person < 100% Poverty: 10.7%
Single Mother Household: 6.9%
Person < 100% Poverty: 25.6%
Single Mother Household: 14.5%
Person < 100% Poverty: 23.5%
Single Mother Household: 13.8%
Person < 100% Poverty: 12.5%
Single Mother Household: 28.1%
Programs: Youth Advocates for Healthy Living (YAHL)
YAHL allows adolescents in marginalized and vulnerable neighborhoods to serve as champions for health and wealth in their families, neighborhoods, and communities at large. The members of YAHL are aged 15–21 and residents of the Chicago Metropolitan region. The participants are engaged in monthly education and development sessions; participate in group projects; and complete individual leadership and outreach assignments. The goal of the initiative is to provide youth leaders with the knowledge, skills, support and venues to bring health and wealth to their own lives and then to their communities one family and one neighborhood/village at a time. The vision is a cadre of youth leaders and catalysts around the globe creating and implementing strategies that bring health and wealth to their own lives, first and then to family members, peers, communities, villages, and nations.
Over the past six years, LiveFree, Inc. has partnered with multiple for-profit, nonprofit, and local government agencies to develop curricula and implement educational programs for youth and young adults in communities of color. Program collaborations include:
Peer Education on AIDS, Relationships, Living Single and Self-Esteem (P.E.A.R.L.S.™)
This intervention was developed and tested on the campuses of three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Rust College in MS, Tougaloo College in MS, and Norfolk State University in VA). More than 110 women participated in the program. P.E.A.R.L.S. is a socio-cultural relationship-based intervention that seeks to reduce HIV/STD risk behaviors in Black college women, ages 18-24. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service funded this project. Role: Subgrantee for recruitment and training.
Junior Education on Womanhood, Excelling in Life and Self Esteem (J.E.W.E.L.S.™)
This program was developed and tested in four low-income communities in Suburban Cook County, IL with Black and Latina females, ages 9-15. The purpose of the program is to provide knowledge, skills, and support for the girls to make healthy choices that include avoiding premature sex, gang involvement, and juvenile delinquency. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and several small private foundations fund this program. Role: Subgrantee for recruitment, training, and deployment of private resources and foundation grants.
Growing into Empowered Men Striving for Success (G.E.M.S.S.™)
This intervention is designed to educate young Black and Latino adolescent males about the criteria for becoming marriage-eligible men and the social and health benefits of abstaining from premarital sexual activities. The intervention involves educational sessions, a recreational activity (i.e., martial arts) that builds self-control and self-confidence, and a mentoring component. A pilot was conducted with funds from the Missouri Department of Social Services. Role: Lead organization for one pilot.
Decreasing the Impact of AIDS on MOthers, Daughters, Nieces, and Sisters (D.I.A.M.O.N.D.S.™)
To strengthen and sustain the dialogue and support between Black female family members about the threat of HIV/AIDS and HIV risk reduction behaviors. The intervention will employ the use of natural venues, settings, and activities to facilitate information exchange about the seriousness of HIV/AIDS and the high susceptibility for contracting the disease amongst Black females; to uncover new strategies for female empowerment in relationships; and to foster social support between mothers, daughters, nieces, and sisters to engage in HIV risk reduction behaviors. A pilot project was conducted with funding from several private foundations, multiple community development corporations and individual private donors. Role: Lead organization for one pilot.
Reaching at the Rink
LiveFree, Inc. conducts multiple risk reduction education events focused on African American and Latino youth at local skating rinks during weekend family matinee events. These events reach the youth and their family members in a natural setting and address a variety of health topics (i.e., HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, obesity, etc.). The HHS Regional Office and private donors fund these events. Lead organization for programs.