Truth n’ Trauma Program Overview

The Truth n' Trauma project (TNT) aims to prevent and reduce violence in neighborhoods and communities contiguous to Chicago State University through supporting young people in addressing the impact of trauma on young people and families in their neighborhoods and communities, and developing strategies for trauma and violence prevention and reduction. Three social work faculty, along with faculty from Counseling Psychology and The Department of Communications, Media, Theatre, and Arts (CMAT) were involved in partnering with local agencies to develop this effort. Forty-three youth were selected to work with Chicago State University, and received training on the root causes of violence and community trauma, participatory action research methods, advocacy and leadership skills, and media and arts training. TNT staff believe that youth, in partnership with adult allies, can be active agents in creating and implementing innovative strategies to address the issue of trauma in our community, developing innovative ways to introduce the community and other youth to radical healing . Our mission is to reduce community violence and help heal the exposure to violence through education that liberates and restores the community. TNT encourages youth led, restorative practices with violence affected youth.

For more information related to TNT, contact 773-995-2016 or

A special "thank you" goes out to those that attended our inaugural "Healing Trauma and Restoring Community" conference. Many people were responsible for the success of the gathering, and we look forward to opportunities to partner for the well-being of our youth and communities in the future.

Please look for other events in the future hosted by Chicago State University's Institute for Youth and Community Engagement.

in service and solidarity,

The Healing Trauma and Restoring Community Conference Planning Team 

Knowledge and practice perspectivesApplication to the Truth N' Trauma initiative
Trauma TrainingEngaged youth will receive education and training in a “train-the-trainers” model on the impact of community violence and trauma. Youth will be trained on an age-appropriate model to include psychological first-aid and other evidence-based models, to educate their peers and others concerning trauma, resources to address trauma and prevent violence, and peace-keeping circles.
Leadership Skill DevelopmentYouth will attend interactive sessions that focus on personal and collective accountability, emotional development and positive relationship building in and outside of the community. Utilizing a variation of CSU’s evidence based 8th Round life-skills curriculum, which has been, designed to encourage youth to create a culture of respect and responsibility for themselves, others and their community, youth develop their leadership and presentation skills.
Restorative practiceYouth will be trained concerning restorative practice theory and methods, including how to conduct and facilitate circle-keeping, small group conferencing, and planning.
Community-based research trainingYouth will participate in systematically observing, documenting, interpreting, and presenting information related to preventing violence and well-being within their community, including utilizing participatory research methods, photography, and documentary filmmaking. Youth will present all findings in public community forums and will use their presentations as a means of engaging the community in the program and is positive well-being promotion.
Media and arts trainingSelect youth will engage in creating several projects designed to engage young people (and adults) in the overall conversation concerning violence and trauma. Youth will develop a theater production designed to teach the impact of trauma and the importance of preventing violence. Some youth will be involved in a citywide “public service announcement” contest to elicit the best PSA concerning violence and trauma. Other youth will be engaged in co-creating a website that will include podcasts, PSA’s, and a video “uploading” project hosting 3-minute “trauma and resiliency” videos.