NATAL and Chicago

Bringing NATAL’s Model to Chicago’s inner city
How can NATAL’s model serve Chicago?

NATAL has embarked on a major project in Chicago - to assist in the development of trauma and resiliency centers in areas of the city beset by urban violence.

In Israel, as in the inner city of Chicago, virtually every adult and child is at risk for the potentially devastating impact of psychological trauma. Children and adults are constantly impacted, either directly or indirectly, by the violence surrounding them. For Israelis, the violence is due to terrorism and war. For Chicagoans, the violence is related to the warring that exists within and between communities.

NATAL has embarked on a major project in Chicago – to assist in the development of trauma and resiliency centers in areas of the city beset by urban violence. In Israel, like the inner city, of Chicagoans are at risk of psychological trauma.

In 2015, NATAL was invited by the newly formed The Urban Resiliency Network in Bronzeville (TURN) and Sinai Health System* to conduct a needs assessment in their communities. As part of the assessment, NATAL professionals visited Chicago to conduct focus groups, map out existing resources for trauma and resiliency building services, and determine where the potential gaps exist.

Following, and as a result of, this analysis, NATAL recently concluded the second phase of its work with TURN by helping to build the necessary infrastructure for TURN’s Helpline, as well as a 5-week intensive training of the Lirst cohort of faith-based leaders and mental health professionals to provide pre-clinical counseling to those of their individual congregants who may be in need.

The major objectives of this training were to equip TURN’s Pastors with the tools, knowledge, attitudes, and skills required to perform the task of a Helpline* supporter, the expertise to provide trauma informed interventions within their community and to serve as a pillar for community resilience.

Over the next year NATAL will continue training and supporting TURN as they lay the foundation and launch the Helpline. From strengthening their infrastructure abilities, to supporting the professional staff, as well, providing further training to TURN staff in Chicago to be able to provide a range of different trauma informed interventions to their communities.

*The Urban Resiliency Network, Bronzeville was launched by Pastor Chris Harris in 2014 in partnership with University of Chicago Medicine, Northwestern University Medicine,United Way and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF). BDC is dedicated to serving Chicago with counseling and other social services aimed at minimizing negative factors that cause violence while increasing protective influences that yield positive outcomes.

*Sinai Health System has joined the impressive list of partners for this project. Spearheaded by Debra Wesley, President of Sinai Community Institute, Sinai services a geographical area of 25% of the city— over 1.5 million people. Mt. Sinai Hospital is an affiliate of JUF.

In the Press:

Click here to read more about NATAL’s work from the Chicago Tribune

 Pastor Chris Harris from The Urban Resiliency Network discusses the first annual fundraising
event and the plan to help to address trauma in inner city.