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Meredith Gioia / 3/1/2016 / Twitter / Facebook
For over fifteen years, Horace R. Hall, DePaul associate professor of educational policy studies and research, has led the Chicago-based R.E.A.L. Youth Program as they partnered with local area schools, youth programs, and literacy and social justice organizations. “The ultimate goal of the R.E.A.L. Youth Program is to help young people move past adversity,” Hall explains. Aiming for an organic approach to mentoring, the program leaders are called facilitators. These facilitators work side-by-side with the youth to identify issues in their lives, pinpoint underlying causes and brainstorm actions for individual and community transformation. Using the concepts of Respect, Excellence, Attitude and Leadership, the program’s teamwork approach is designed to offer youth a safe space to express themselves in creative projects ranging from art, writing, and digital media and to learn important life skills such as resisting peer pressure, breaking cycles of domestic and community violence, career planning and challenging cultural stereotypes.