Peace Fellows Meet With Metropolitan Family Services

On Wednesday, April 8th, the Chicago Peace Fellows hosted a conversation with Metropolitan Family Services (MFS) to learn about their efforts to reduce the amount of gun violence in the city. MFS talked about three of their specific projects: Communities Partnering for Peace (CP4P), The Metropolitan Peace Academy, and Lights in the Night.

The Chicago Peace Fellows learned about the work of these interrelated projects to reduce violence, heard directly from program directors about their experiences, and explored how they can best be involved.

Communities Partnering for Peace, the Metropolitan Peace Academy, and Lights in the night are strategies meant to support community-based organizations provide on the ground services in communities across Chicago. Domonique Mccord, Director of Community Behavioral Initiatives, explained that the role of MFS in CP4P is to bring smaller community-based organizations together and provide professional services such as accounting, human resources and mental health services that would be difficult for street outreach organizations. MFS provides these services to organizations across the city.

The Chicago Peace Fellows also learned about the Metropolitan Peace Academy which seeks to professionalize street outreach and create a learning institution to share best practices across organizations. Vanessa Dereef, Director of the Metropolitan Peace Academy, shared that it is important for outreach workers to build relationships to support one another across the city. Several Chicago Peace Fellows were familiar with the Lights in the Night program which runs programs at night in public places over the summer. Several Fellows have participated in these activities and learned more about how they can be involved.

The Chicago Peace Fellows were really interested in how they can support the activities of MFS and be involved as community leaders in street outreach. Steve Perkins, Director of Outreach, explained that they can learn more about the street outreach organizations in their neighborhoods and share information when it’s appropriate. He encouraged fellows to participate in community activities and to get to know the people in their neighborhoods.