OUR MISSION

Determined To Be UpRight will help youth identify and deflect the harmful influences they will encounter so they never step foot inside a prison. The purpose and actions of our program are organized to prepare our young men to have a crystal clear understanding that being led by people who mean them no good and allowing themselves to be recruited by gangs or other harmful activities is not their rite of passage. Determined To Be UpRight is designed to enable our young men to deflect with courage, whatever harmful peer or environmental pressures they may encounter.

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WHO WE ARE

Our mission is to prepare young males to never step a foot inside a prison. The purpose and the objective for organizing Determined To Be UpRight (DTBUpRight) is to remove the glamorization of prison life by preparing young males ages 12 through 18 (grades 6th – 12th), in the Chicagoland area to have a crystal clear understanding that being led by people who mean them no good and allowing themselves to be recruited by gangs or other harmful activities is not their rite of passage. Determined To Be UpRight is designed to enable our young men to deflect with courage, whatever harmful peer or environmental pressures they may encounter. We expose our young men to healthy experiences to stimulate their thinking and inspire good choices so our young people can witness that the world is diverse, interesting, educational, and actually beautiful. Our program is tailored to add value to the lives of our participants so that they see and comprehend their own potential to be free to grow.

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OUR PROGRAM

Our program receives its participants by way of referral from parents, school administrators, counselors, coaches, and clergyman. We accept 24 young men every six months and expose them to positive and encouraging experiences, so that they gain confidence in themselves and in their ability to deflect whatever harmful influences they may encounter. The program is based on four components to address multiple attributes in our young men to keep them engaged in the programs activities as well as obtaining the long-term results that lead to benefiting the whole person.

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PROGRAM COMPONENTS

The program is based on four components: EMPATHETIC VOLUNTEERING, CHARACTER DISCUSSIONS, MENTAL TRAVEL TRIPS, and GUEST SPEAKERS. These components are designed to address multiple attributes in our young men to keep them engaged in the programs activities as well as obtaining the long-term results that lead to benefiting the whole person. The components that have been identified through evidence-based programs and research to be effective at empowering young men to make good decisions for their future and community. The aspects addressed through our program to counter harmful influences are: decency, treating others as you wish to be treated, constructive use of time, exposure to different customs, cultures, ideas, positive values, and positive identity.

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Of our children ages 17 and under were arrested in Chicago in the years 2013 and 2014. In 2012, 4,287 arrests of young people under 18 years old took place on Chicago Public School properties. In some schools up to 52% of the students were arrested in 2012 – highlighting how some students are continually exposed to harmful influences, even during school hours.

Mental Travel Trips

Mental Travel Trips provide young men with new experiences…

Character Discussion Sessions

The group discussions are a unique component of our…

Empathetic Volunteering

This component of the program emphasizes empathy and good…