Tuesday, March 11, 2014

PENALTY BOX: Following Fight, Youth Center Puts Some Services On A Time Out

The Broadway Youth Center, which serves LGBT youth from a church near Broadway and Wellington, has suspended "drop-in services" for the rest of this week after a fight broke out among its clients inside the church Monday afternoon.

Police first responded to a battery in progress call around 2:50PM, but the caller did not give an exact address for them to respond to. Instead, officers searched around the 500 block of Diversey, near the cell tower that transmitted the call. They found nothing.

Moments later, a call came in reporting two people fighting with "people standing by watching" on the first floor of Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington. Officers arrived and a sergeant reported "maybe some arguments" but no fighting underway.

Michelle Wetzel, general counsel of BYC's parent organization, tells us that the fight participants were gone when police arrived.

DNAInfo Chicago reports this morning that Wetzel told a neighborhood meeting last night that the center would suspend drop-in services for the rest of the week.
"There are consequences we want the young people to see when things like that happen," Wetzel said.
Nobody was hurt aside from minor scratches, [BYC director Imani] Rupert said. Staff will still be working during the day for additional training on crisis intervention and to remind any youth who show up "that this is a consequences of actions," Wetzel and Rupert said.
BYC will continue to offer its other services, including HIV testing and housing referrals, while the drop-in services take a chill.

It is good to see BYC holding its clients responsible for their actions, a marked change from the center's approach to violence under previous management.

RELATED

POLICE REPORTS: Youth Center Shields "Violent Offender"; Won't Help Cops

37 comments:

  1. The "drop-in services" should be permanently CANCELLED.

    Along with the COH...that place should be shut down permanently, and replaced with a hotel.

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    1. It sorta is a hotel isnt?

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  2. Yeah well - giving a time-out and actually DOING it are two different things with these people. Unless there's a sign on the door that says its cancelled for the week and WHY...then I'll believe it.

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  3. It's about time these organizations demonstrated some tough love. This is only a start though. Now if the Cesspool on Halsted would take a tough stand. The neighborhood needs to keep the pressure on these people to do something about the obvious problems.

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    1. As quoted above: Staff still will be working during the day for additional training on crisis intervention and to remind any youth who show up "that this is a consequences of actions,"

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  4. It's good to see that BYC is doing *something*, though I have mixed feelings about punishing their other customers by closing down because of the antics of a few bad apples. What happened to the two kids who were fighting? Have they been permanently banned from BYC?

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    1. Then the other clients should make sure that nothing should happen again. They should step-up and police themselves for a change.

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  5. That protects their own staff inside their own building, but the problem is that those same violent youths will simply go out into the streets of our community and will continue their fights there. Where these organizations are failing is that they are bringing these violent youth into our community, failing to teach them how to behave in civilized society, and failing to permanently kick out people from the programs that do not learn. Just teaching the staff what to do when a fight breaks out is not enough. They need to be teaching their clients how to deal appropriately with their own emotions and not to get themselves into fights in the first place. If these social service organizations can teach their clients these basic skills, nothing else they do through their programs are of any value. They fail the community and their clients. Without these basic skills their client will never be members of any community other than a jail cell.

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    1. Sadly, this is what the community wanted. And by wanted, I mean..they didn't bother to show up at the meetings, at the zoning board meeting to fight for the community. Now they are stuck with it. We all make decisions in life, as they say..and the community (those who didn't show up) chose for this.

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    2. This is a puzzle. People were rightfully upset when BYC did NOTHING about incidents inside their property (or WORSE than nothing).

      Now that they ARE doing something, people still bitch. It's a little tiresome, to be honest. We are pleased to see BYC making an effort to change the way they operate.

      To blame the neighbors is BS, too. They showed up in droves for meetings and voted to not support the zoning request. The request was approved because the alderman voiced his support for it despite the neighbors' desires.

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    3. The only reason they're doing anything is because of this blog, because they finally know they are being watched, no other reason. Not out of the goodness of their hearts, because they certainly didn't care a whit before this.

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    4. That church should have been packed to the gills with concerned home owners or renters and thet zoning board meeting should have been swamped with concerned home owners and renters as well ..is what I'm saying. But when all said and done, no matter who showed up, the BYC and their other faction would outnumber regardless. It just seems the community could have come together in a stronger fashion is what I'm trying to say. It looked like same people speaking and coming to the meetings that led up to the vote in January (it was obvious that the neighborhood was going to have the BYC regardless of what was said, done or voted on). I guess we'll see how it plays out for the year of the Good Neighbor Agreementm I suppose.

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    5. Looks packed to us.

      http://assets.dnainfo.com/generated/chicago_photo/2013/11/south-east-lake-view-neighbors-meeting-november-2013-13842387258584.jpg/extralarge.jpg

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    6. As someone who was at the zoning board hearing, it wasn't packed with residents or neighbors. So Paul is right. I took the day off work to be there and speak and I rent. If people cared enough, they would have been there. Period.

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    7. Thank you, Sarah. You're an upstanding citizen the likes of which we could use more of. Really.

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  6. As noted in the DNA article:

    "They told all the young people that drop-in services — which allow youths to get a free meal, hang out with their friends, make phone calls, etc. — would be canceled for the rest of the week. Drop-in hours are typically all weekdays but Wednesday, from noon to 3 p.m."

    And that is the problem I have with the situation. On weekdays young people should be in school, not hanging out with friends and making phone calls. Don't start lecturing me about how disadvantaged these particular young people are...that's all the more reason they should be in a structured situation with rules and boundaries set firmly in place. Without that, I've got some news for you, they'll be disadvantaged for their entire lives. If BYC and other social service organizations want to offer programs they should be designed and run to offer real solutions to these kids' problems...not just drawing them into the neighborhood to hang out and make phone calls.

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    1. Michael, I love you.

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    2. Jason in ChicagoMar 11, 2014, 9:59:00 PM

      I was wondering this too. Why aren't these youths in school during weekday hours? Does Chicago not have or enforce truancy laws?

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    3. They don't respond well to rules.

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    4. The fact that we think that CPS for many kids - namely, those willing to commit such crimes - is anything more than an afternoon holding tank speaks volumes to how little our community understands just how severe the situation is in places all around the city. They're not learning any rules or boundaries at school. They're simply being kept off the street for a few hours.

      Now, of course, that is better than them being on the streets, I admit.

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    5. Then the youth center should offer educational programs. They are doing nothing now but encouraging them to skip school. I personally, just last week, followed two kids from the Red Line around 12:30 in the afternoon. They could not have been more than 13 years old.

      I noticed them because they walked very quickly and—I walk quickly myself—they kept up my pace in front of me. Not bad for a couple of shorties. Irrelevant, but that's what caught my attention.

      We passed Clark. Then approached Belmont. Then kept walking east on Belmont. I thought, we're running out of places where they are likely to be going. They were on the wrong side of the street for Mt. Carmel. And we kept going. Right around the old Abbott Hotel, I thought..."Are these kids (YOUNG KIDS) going to BYC?

      Right then, I heard one say to the other, "we're almost there." I was intrigued and they kept walking. At Broadway, they hung a quick right. Intrigued at this point, I tagged along.

      Yes. They went to Broadway Youth Center.

      Great if they need help for a day. But these are kid kids. Kids.. Very young. And, regardless, they need to be in school, not in a QUILTBAG rec room.

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    6. Oops. Approached Clark. Then approached ~Halsted~

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  7. It does not matter at all what we want. As long as Emanuel and Tunney are in power we have nothing to say. They both have to go.

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    1. It does matter what we all want. And unfortunately the majority of "us" have proven time and again that they want morons like Rahmy and Tunney representing them. Until voters wise up, we get what we vote for.

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  8. How about a sign at the door directing them to hang out at the alderman's office. Since he voted to let them in the neighborhood I am sure he would welcome them with open arms at his office. Pie and "punch" for everyone.

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  9. At one of the SELVN meetings regarding the BYC zoning, some woman got up, proclaimed she was "rich" and a neighbor and asked what she could do to help. Well, honey, now is the time to step up and take the youth in to YOUR home so they can hang and make phone calls. The youth should be knocking on HER door.

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    1. mmmhmm. and remember the pastor of broadway methodist who stood up and gave everyone a lecture about how terrible they were to suggest that byc should not be on wellington? well, byc was based in *her* church for a few months. why not take them back? seems like she wants everyone to feel guilty for taking on the mess that she won't have in her own church.

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    2. Please don't make comments when you don't know what you're talking about, which I know is probably too much to ask.

      BYC was only at Broadway because they needed a temporary space to hold some of their services until they found a more permanent location, Broadway was never meant to be permanent.

      And of course you miss the entire point of what she was saying, it wasn't about people being terrible for not wanting them there, it was about the racist attitudes and words that people were using to argue against them being there, thats not ok.

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    3. i was there mike. she detected "code words," which is a symptom of not having any real racist stuff to complain about. because it didnt exist.

      also, byc had previously been in a "temporary" location at its own building north of there on broadway. then "temporary" at her church. then "temporary" at the current location, which they very slickly tried to make permanent.

      this vagabond service agency has operational problems that nobody wants.

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  10. No further comments will be posted on this thread unless they relate to the specific incident reported above.

    We are not big on re-hash and that's where these comments are going.

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  11. The term "Client" has taken on a whole new meaning.

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    1. Here is as specific about the incident's true meaning as i can make it: the BYC, like many "caring" people, have a disordered sense of "values".

      I live near the COH and like the BYC the value is self expression, self exploration, self enhancement. The only problem is that maturation MUST involve restraint of ALL the natural self - isn instincts and motives. This restraint and the way it is taught - discipline - is actual love, actual caring.

      We have societal confusion and this is just a more obvious symptom.

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    2. The problem with BYC and COH is their ideas and hierarchy of "values".

      Real love - the only thing that will truly help these kids and the neighborhood REQUIRES discipline.

      The social service workers seem to believe that self expression, self adornment, self exploration, self sexual "creativity", etc., etc. is the priority value.

      Maturation requires channeling and even limiting self centered behaviors and values, there is no getting around it.

      This is the unease we feel with their program at heart - there is no real love only self serving motives being cloaked by the official mission of "serving youth".

      The casualties are the kids, the social service workers the neighborhood, etc.

      These poor angry, mixed up and unloved kids...is it any surprise they act it out and literally scream for real love?

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  12. The mayor and alderman sucks! - I thought that would meet your standards as my other more thoughtful comments never get published.

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    1. Hi Anthony. We do not sit around 24-hours a day waiting for a comment to come in for our moderation. You submitted your two nearly-identical comments less than 90 minutes ago.

      As you may notice from our post this morning, we spent a very significant amount of time on this blog over the past 24 hours for $0 pay.

      Thank you for reading our work. Oh, no. Please, please. There's not need to thank us. We thrive off of rude comments such as this one.

      Just as soon as the warmth and glow of this comment subside, we'll get around to considering your other two submissions.

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    2. CIB,

      Understood and my apologies! Never mind on the other comments.

      Thank you all for your site and service, really!

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