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Under the direction of Father Dave Kelly and Precious Blood Ministries, the Coalition has a filmed that will be featured in the Black Harvest Film Festival, debuting at the Gene Siskel Center on Thursday, August 9th.

The title of the film is “One Shot.” Please support our youth and make sure you go to see the movie!

PEC Monthly Meeting

Every month the Peace and Education Coalition, made up of stakeholders committed to creating a strategy for peace and educational opportunities for the people, gather to have a dialogue about the positive efforts being made in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.  Recently, the Coalition has been conversing about the effects of the Presidential Executive orders and how we address our concerns. The Coalition is also planning a Youth Summit, as well as several workshop to accompany the mental health of the community. A “Wellness Summit”, to be held over several weeks of Spring, is being hosted by SOS Children’s Village and San Miguel School covering the areas of: Immigration, Community Violence, The clash of Culture, Financial Empowerment, and General Mental Health.
Click here to see the calendar for updates and all upcoming events.


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Sr. Ines Telles Visit

Sr. Ines Telles, CSJ, visits Peace and Education Accelerated High School. During the month of January, Sr. Telles of the Soledad Enrichment Action of Los Angeles, California visited the PEC High School Sinclair Campus and spoke with the Principal, Brigitte Swenson. Sr. Telles has initiated the Youth Peace Movement (YPM) and told Brigitte about the efforts of the students to create “Peace Projects” based not he 10 Global Calls to Action for peace, developed by the Nobel Peace Laureates. Several efforts at Sinclair are developed in a similar spirit. Like the S.E.A. schools of Los Angeles, the PEC High School works to engage parents and students in bringing a positive attitude of peace making to the neighborhood.

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2016 Scholarship Honorees Remembered

The Annual Peace and Education Coalition Fundraiser will be held May 20, 2017, 10 AM at the Back of the Yards College Prep High School (2111 W 47th Street, Chicago).  Thank you so much for your support last year. The fundraiser was a wonderful success raising enough money to offer supportive scholarships to the 40 students who applied from the neighborhood. The fundraiser itself featured a breakfast donated by restaurants from around the neighborhood, and we honored two former recipients.  Claudio Rivera, was quoted in local newspaper The Gate, “I didn’t want to tell a story about myself today, because sometimes people try to turn that story into one that says, ‘Well, you did it because you worked harder than everyone else.’ I don’t buy that bootstrap narrative,” said Rivera, who is about to receive a Ph.D. in psychology from DePaul University. “First of all, there are plenty of other people who have done it, too. Many of them are in this room today. And of course, I have failed thousands of times. I have doubted myself many times. But there are people around me who pick me up when I fall and who see something in me that keeps them by my side. They give me opportunities even when I have doubted myself or lost belief in myself. Our story is a collective story of success. So, I encourage you to give young people chances, and not just one or two chances, but three or four thousand chances.”


Jose Alonso, a lawyer who graduated from Loyola University and who works with our local community said, “Many of the same recipients that accepted the invitation to serve in their college years have also accepted the invitation to lead in our community after college.  We have past scholarship recipients who have led reflection groups with our youth, who have led neighborhood-wide cultural celebrations, who have engaged in civil disobedience to bring justice for our immigrants, who have created jobs for people in our community, who have also created scholarships, and the list goes on,” he said. “We really do have something exceptional here…a community-focused effort which instills the importance of service in our youth and develops them as leaders in our community.  I can’t think of any other scholarship in Chicago with that kind of mission and that kind of impact.”

Join us as we prepare to continue a special tradition of supporting our students in their dreams for a higher education.

To purchase tickets for this years fundraiser please click the button below or for more info click here:

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A Holiday Reflection

After a recent holiday gathering, a leader from one of our agencies said during a conversation, “I wonder if I am really doing a good job?” The leader has been observing the trauma of violence across the neighborhood, and when home in the evening time he reflects with his wife on the work ahead on how best we might care for the children and families in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

His reflection is not an easy one knowing the challenges youth and children face in the neighborhood. The recent elections have cast doubts about adults who have the responsibility to protect the children. The experience of street violence has made the young people feel unsafe. And domestic violence, often due to economic strife, forces some youth onto the street until late hours putting them at-risk. Knowing any single one of the children affected creates a challenge to accompany them and figure out how to make a difference. Sometimes, frustrated by the lack of resources the question arises, “I wonder if I am really doing a good job?”

Taking an opportunity to respond, a friend said to the leader, “First, just to ask the question, ‘Am I doing a good job?’ is an indication you are moving in a positive direction. We keep ourselves in a creative spirit when we can reflect on the work at hand. Having to ask the question indicates that in fact you do care, and desire to do your best. Second, talking to a spouse, someone who can listen, means you are in a dialogue which can bring a better understanding. Just to be able to gather as adults and reflect is at least half the journey towards a witness of being compassionate and responsive. To accompany one another is also to persevere with patience in the journey towards peace and education.

In the New Year, the Coalition will continue the dialogue and the commitment to accompany one another, meeting monthly and working with a strategic plan of peace to bring a light of hope to our families. Also in the New Year, we will once again host the fundraiser for the 2017 Scholarships for our young people pursuing a higher education on Saturday, May 20, 2017, 10 AM – “Taste of the Back of the Yards”. Plan to join us!

All of us in the Peace and Education Coalition remain grateful to our sponsors and for those who are committed to a vision of peace and education in Back of the Yards! Thank you and may your New Year be filled with hope, …and peace!

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