January 26, 2015 – Tom was a troubled teen.
A year ago, he regularly skipped classes. He got a girl a pregnant, and “was tangled in a tremendous amount of legal trouble,” recalled his mentor, Ben Swihart.
Swihart and the teen belong to a mentoring program at the Lawndale Christian Legal Center, which is based on the West Side.
The center opened in 2010 to provide legal representation to families in North Lawndale and surrounding areas. But group leaders also knew youth needed help beyond legal problems and quickly started a mentoring program.
It has an after-school program targeted toward high school-aged youth on probation. The organization also provides employment training, academic tutoring, peace circles, substance abuse counseling, community service projects and social outings. At this time, 34 people are being mentored through the program, which works with people 24 and younger.
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