Safe Humane Chicago, Chicago, IL
Safe Humane Chicago seeks to create safe and humane communities by inspiring positive relationships between people and animals. Programs include: (1) Lifetime Bonds is a mentoring program in which incarcerated youth work with adult volunteers to socialize and train rescue dogs, making them more adoptable. Following release from secure detention, the youth receive internships with the Court Case Dogs program, rehabilitating animal victims in cruelty cases. (2) Youth Leaders is a semester-long program that trains high school students to serve as role models and mentors for elementary school children in high-risk Chicago neighborhoods, teaching them about humane and compassionate care of animals. (3) Collaborative Justice promotes identification, arrest, prosecution, and effective sentencing of perpetrators of animal cruelty and ensures, where possible, their animal victims are placed in safe, forever homes. The program seeks to: (a) train police, prosecutors, and judges on best practices for enforcing animal cruelty laws and the link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence; (b) recruit, train, and support community volunteers to serve as court advocates; (c) recruit and train community volunteers to socialize and help train victimized dogs; and (d) form partnerships with and provide support to rescues that accept dogs when cases conclude.
Our great results for Safe Humane Chicago include:
- Writing successful grant proposals to support Lifetime Bonds and Youth Leaders.
- Conducting a strategic planning process that included in-depth interviews with board members, staff and other stakeholders, and facilitating a two-day board retreat. Key outcomes included renewed emphasis on diversified fundraising efforts, the hiring of much-needed additional staff and identification of long-term strategies to strengthen the board.
- Developing data collection methods and measures to assess program effectiveness, including evaluating VALOR, a program that uses the human-animal bond to help veterans achieve emotional healing. Veterans gain a sense of efficacy as they socialize and train shelter dogs who have survived abuse and neglect.
- Presenting Lifetime Bonds at two high-profile justice conferences, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention conference in 2011 and the American Society of Criminology conference in 2012.