Advocacy & Prevention
Workforce Development
Coaching & Counseling


We reject the notion that Chicago CRED provides a second chance. For many of the young men in Chicago, CRED is their first chance, because they’ve never before had access to mentors, opportunities, or the support everyone needs to succeed. We welcome men into our program like brothers and care for them like family.

Through trauma counseling, dedicated life coaching, and education support, we are helping them move forward with the life they want to live.


Many men in our program have experienced trauma since childhood. Violence, homelessness, abuse, and death are common sources of stress.

Healing trauma is the essential first step on a path toward lasting rehabilitation.

We provide one-on-one counseling, trauma- and stress-management groups, and enrichment workshops to help men recover and grow. By understanding how trauma affects the body and mind, and learning how to respond to intense emotions with nonaggressive actions, men are better equipped to cope with their past and become productive members of society.

“When a person is inundated with chronically stressful and life-threatening events, particularly involving incessant gang warfare, the survival response is frequently aggression and often violence—fight, not flight.” — Dr. Donald Tyler, Chicago CRED’s Director of Clinical Services.

"Honestly these coaches don't just come in and do their jobs. They've been there before and they are guiding us and doing more hands on outside of work that's not being seen. They take it upon themselves to call us every morning. They have genuine love for us. We've got someone in our corner that is real."

— Damien


When someone shows up for you, time and time again, it’s life-changing. Many men in our program have never had that kind of relationship.

Our life coaches provide it. They’re deeply passionate mentors and advocates, personally invested in the success of everyone who walks through our doors.

The creation of safe and reliable relationships not only helps these men heal, but it also gives them the tools they need to stabilize their lives to make the jump to the legal economy.

Young men in our program meet with coaches, face-to-face, every single week to get organized and proactive on everything, from housing and child care, to navigating the legal system, and reaching their education goals.

"When a flower doesn't bloom, you don't fix the flower, you fix the environment that it is growing in. We are always searching for how we can impact and heal not just the individuals but also the communities."

- Johnny Paige, Co-director for Programs at CRED partner ConTextos


High school diplomas are key to successful long-term employment. Education gives young men not only the credentials they need to succeed but also confidence.

After years of negative classroom experiences, CRED men need a new start. Many get weekly sessions with a tutor and whatever else it takes to get them to the podium, diploma in hand.

Education is not just about making grades and passing tests. It is about young men seeing themselves in a new light and seeing a different path.

Our programming encompasses tailored enrichment workshops on everything, from domestic violence, to cultural identity and financial literacy, to guidance on fatherhood. Interactions with experts and cultural leaders can be transformative for young men who haven’t had exposure to this kind of life lesson.

Street Outreach
Our Goal