Youth Empowerment Program

Youth Empowerment Program banner
OpportunityEducationIntervention
  • Mentorship
  • Connection to Programs
  • Connection to People
  • Parents
  • Students
  • Teachers
  • Community
Customized to fit individual needs.

Interested?

If you or someone you know could benefit from this program, you are just looking for more information, or you represent an organization that would like to become a community partner, please call Elgin 311 (847-931-6001) or email elginyep@cityofelgin.org to be connected to the program leadership team. Individual contact information is also provided below.

Background

The Elgin Police Department's Operation Homefront Program began in 2009, and since its inception, over 400 home visits were conducted with parents. After presenting this program's information along with information on the School Resource Officer Program to Elgin City Council in October 2020, the police department initiated a comprehensive review and analysis of the program, working with department personnel, community members, Councilmember Corey Dixon and Christopher Mallette of CKone, LLC. Through those discussions, the Youth Empowerment Program was developed. The Youth Empowerment Program offers a more robust response to juvenile outreach, prevention and intervention.


Overview

The Youth Empowerment Program centers on a multidisciplinary partnership between the school district, community-based organizations, faith-based agencies and the police department, with the goals of decreasing juvenile violence, arrests gang involvement (activity and membership), decreasing high school dropout rates and increasing high school graduation rates. The Youth Empowerment Program is grounded in restorative justice practices, which seek to understand and repair harm done and relationships rather than punishment. The program offers a community-based approach, fostering open communication channels between all partners so that mitigating factors surrounding incidents can be discussed before reaching the level of actionable police involvement.

Program participants are identified by the multidisciplinary partnership for focused family visits, which offer a balanced collaborative approach to providing violence prevention programs/opportunities and intervention along with training in the identification of violence indicators for parents. The program prioritizes follow up visits to participants focusing on connecting youth and families to social and emotional support services. The core needs of each participant are considered in effort to enhance both educational and career development opportunities.

The program is led by CKone, LLC's Christopher Mallette and Charles Perry, who were hired for the development, management, training and implementation of the program, along community liaisons Jeff Ligon and Aaron Cobbs, as well as Elgin Police Department's Special Investigations Detective Will Yucaitis, Officer Mike Fuller and Community Engagement Specialist Bob Whitt.


headshot photo of christopher malletteChristopher Mallette

Management Consultant
Strategic Advisor

224-860-4464

Owner of consulting firm CKone, LLC, Christopher Mallette has extensive experience building and leading collaborative efforts in communities that reduce violence experienced by youth and adults. Mr. Mallette provides a substantial background in juvenile programs specific to violence reduction and positive outreach programs and opportunities. Mr. Mallette has overseen the management and implementation of multi-dimensional projects which require building diverse teams to achieve shared successes in the implementation of impactful community programs.

An example of this success includes his experience as the Executive Director of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, where he helped lead a multi-year violence reduction project in Chicago. This project combined the Chicago Police Department, educational institutions and community partners and delivered two, consecutive years of the lowest homicide rate in Chicago in sixty years. 

Mr. Mallette also served as Director of Community Safety Initiatives for the City of Chicago Office of the Mayor. In this capacity, he was a liaison between city departments, foundations and philanthropic organizations, community-based organizations, elected leaders and schools to further efforts to reduce youth and neighborhood violence. Most notably, these efforts resulted in Chicago being requested to participate along with five other cities in the first National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. The production of a multi-stakeholder, comprehensive, city-wide youth violence prevention plan which was presented to the White House, the United States Department of Justice and other federal agencies was a result of these efforts.

Mr. Mallette also served as the first Executive Director for Chicago’s Juvenile Intervention and Support Center (JISC) with the mission of providing intervention and prevention services to help youth become successful members of society, while reducing the levels and seriousness of juvenile crime and juvenile recidivism. The JISC provided innovative case management alternatives to youth based on the principles of balanced and restorative justice. During the formative years of the JISC, the area serviced by the JISC experienced reduced numbers of arrests at schools, an increase in juvenile station adjustments and reductions in referrals to court.

Charles PerryCharles Perry

Management Consultant
Strategic Advisor

224-860-4465

Born and raised in Chicago, Charles became heavily involved in a criminal lifestyle at a young age. This resulted in him being sentenced to 25 years in prison at the age of 23. While in prison he earned many educational degrees and certificates and also became a personal trainer. And after committing himself completely to the Lord, Charles was released early after serving just 19 years and 29 days of that sentence.

Upon returning home from prison, Charles has dedicated his life to helping others. Although he is heavily involved in various endeavors geared toward connecting and helping others within the community, his passion is mentoring young people – particularly, young men who come from single parent homes which typically leads to higher risk for juvenile criminal activity. 

Charles is the founder of the Non-Profit organization Staying Out Staying Active (SOSA). SOSA is active in Violence Reduction Strategy (VRS), Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN), and the Fighting to Overcome Records Creating Equality (FORCE) Project initiatives. Charles is currently consulting law enforcement agencies around the country on recidivism. He centers his philosophy on implementing strategies to reduce violent acts among groups and gangs, while providing opportunities for the individuals to reduce their chances of ending up in prison.

Charles continues to work with the U.S Attorney’s office and Chicago Police Department to reduce group and gang violence in the Chicagoland area. As a consultant, Charles’s position gives him the opportunity to go visit various prisons throughout the state of Illinois, participate in re-entry summits and speak to men regarding their preparation plan for release for prison. Being community oriented at heart, Charles also works with different churches and their prison ministries. 

YucaitisSpecial Investigations Detective Will Yucaitis

847-878-4351


Detective Will Yucaitis has served with the Elgin Police Department for 15 years, starting his career on night shift patrol. During his time on patrol, he became an evidence technician. Detective Yucaitis also served on EPD's SWAT team for approximately six years. For the past ten years, Detective Yucaitis has worked in the Special Investigations Group (SIG) and is currently assigned as a detective in the group. Yucaitis is certified in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and is a member of the EPD's “Operation Shattered Stars” peer support group.

FullerSpecial Investigations
Officer Mike Fuller

224-828-8221


Officer Mike Fuller started his career with the Elgin Police Department in December of 2014 after graduating from Western Illinois University with a Bachelors degree in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration and a minor in Business Management. During college, Officer Fuller also interned with the United States Marshals Service.  In 2016, Officer Fuller was assigned to the Special Investigations Group, and is one of two gang intelligence officers in the group. Officer Fuller has been certified in the data acquisition for the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) since 2017, and has also served as an operator on EPD's SWAT team since 2016.


WhittCommunity Engagement Specialist Bob Whitt

224-268-5188

Bob Whitt is the Community Engagement Specialist for the Elgin Police Department. Bob is an accomplished transformational leader with a focus on creating initiatives and driving change that brings transparency and trust between the police and the community.  Bob’s life experiences have rendered him an expert in culture diversity through his ability to build relationships to address issues in a collaborative and reciprocal way, exhibiting long-term impact and successful change. Bob co-leads an initiative through the Elgin Police Department called The Culture of Honor⏤police and community engagement that sustains life, hope and honor. Bob is a graduate of Judson University and is a member of Judson University Spiritual Council, serves on two boards, and is an associate member of Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.


Jeff LigonJeff Ligon

Community Liaison

224-840-4462

Just months after graduating from Larkin High School early January 2001, Jeff was incarcerated. From April 2001 to 2009, he was constantly in and out of the penal system, and then from 2009-2014 he was incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections for various crimes, including drug charges.

While incarcerated, Jeff lost his sister to a car accident and was not allowed to attend her funeral as he was deemed a flight risk. When he was released in December 2014, he pledged to change his life. By June of 2015, he landed a job as a machine operator. He still works for the same company, but is now part of the upper management team. In 2019, Jeff got married and bought his first house. Jeff currently serves on the City's Human Relations Commission. Jeff also serves on the U-46 African American Parent Leadership Institute and as a volunteer coach for the Elgin Bears football team. He has become an upstanding citizen for his community, a proud father of five, he offers support to his nephew and niece and any other young adult in need. In effort to right his wrongs, Jeff is committed to helping others in his community.  

Aaron Cobbs
Aaron Cobbs

Community Liaison

224-840-4463

Aaron is a proud Elgin community member and U-46 graduate raised locally by a single mother. During his childhood he belonged to many City and school-run youth organizations that ranged from after school care to faith and athletic programming. It was through these programs that he developed life-long friendships, found mentors, and gained a sense of confidence. All of this helped him not only while he was growing up, but were fundamental to the man he has become.

Though he always loved participating in sports, it was on the field at Elgin High where Aaron developed his love of football that would, ultimately, shape his life. His assistant coaching role at his alma mater allows him to draw from his childhood experiences and positively engage with the youth of Elgin. This is an opportunity he knows he is uniquely suited for because of his firsthand knowledge of what it means to grow up in the Elgin community and how vital City programming can be in the structure and resources that their organizations provide.

Aaron looks at the opportunity to help individuals in Elgin as a way to pay forward what the City has done for him. The community, collectively, provided the second parent in his life and the chance to do that for others is what motivates him to continue to push and believe in the next generation of children from Elgin.


Dixon-01

Corey Dixon
Elgin City Councilman

 847-450-4847

Councilman Dixon was born and raised in Elgin. His family moved to Schaumburg, Illinois where he attended elementary school and a year of junior high. Later, his family moved back to the area and he would go on to complete the rest of his schooling; graduating from Abbott Middle School and attending Larkin High School, but would later graduate from Elgin High School. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Grambling State University, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in government from Keller Graduate School of Management and a Certificate in Non-Profit Board Leadership from Northwestern University’s Kellog Center for Nonprofit Management & United Way Board Leadership Institute. He is a former Commissioner with the City of Elgin’s Image Advisory Commission and Planning & Zoning Commission. Councilman Dixon currently serves as a Liquor Commissioner with the City of Elgin; Past-Board Chairman & current board member of Greater Family Health, Alignment Collaborative for Education Board of Directors and Food for Greater Elgin Board of Directors. Councilman Dixon is also a former Classroom Facilitator with School District U-46’s African-American & Hispanic Parent Leadership Institute, Founder of Elgin's Annual Back to School BBQ Bash and Co-founder of the Making Space art project. He's an active Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Mu Alpha Lambda Chapter. Councilman Dixon currently works for the Kane County Sheriff’s Office where he serves in the role of Senior Assistant Director of Administration. Councilman Dixon is married to Janelle Dixon, Esq. and they are the parents of three girls: Jada, Corinne and Kali. He and his family are members of Second Baptist Church of Elgin, where Councilman Dixon serves as a Deacon.

Community Partners

If you represent an organization that would like to become a community partner, please call Elgin 311 (847-931-6001) or email elginyep@cityofelgin.org to be connected to the program leadership team.

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