Loyola University Chicago

Center for Experiential Learning


Enlace Chicago and Loyola Youth Violence Research

Enlace Chicago

Maureen Burns recently sat down with the CEL to share the fellowship research project she has been working on with Dr. Maryse Richards, a clinical psychology professor. The research is being conducted in Little Village with focus groups including youth who age between 12 and 18. Through drawing maps of their neighborhoods and labeling aspects such as their homes, their friends’ houses, gang areas, and safe zones, the students are gaining an opportunity to share their opinions. Many of these youth do not typically feel they have an outlet to discuss the violence and hardships they experience in their neighborhoods because they are such integral parts of the environment.  With this community based participatory research, however, the students are getting that opportunity.

The data this face-to-face research project is collecting is being compared to statistics that the Chicago Police Department has collected on the areas to see if the information matches up and if new insights can make the communities safer for these students and their families. For Maureen, the best part of the experience has been talking to kids and listening to their stories. The research gets her out from behind a computer and puts her in the community hearing first hand testimonies, ideas, and experiences that reveal information and intuitions that basic statistic collections cannot.

To learn more about Enlace Chicago, be sure to check out their website