Our Change Philosophy
Everything we do stems from one goal: to solve the root causes of violence and trauma. Our holistic Healing Justice model combines cultural transformation, community development, and individual empowerment. Ultimately, we work to change communities through people and people through community.
I Grow Chicago is a hyper-local approach, part of a larger movement for systemic change. We work to create a replicable model of building vibrant, healthy communities by investing in our neighbors’ capacity and nurturing infrastructures of interdependence and connectivity. We recognize trauma as the result of environmental, intergenerational, and systemic harms that must be healed from the root.
Our Healing Justice model advocates that radical transformation requires simultaneously addressing sources of harm and restoring our bodies and neighborhoods from trauma.
It takes a holistic approach to heal the hood.
We live our values
Call people in not out. We are creating an infrastructure of interdependence and refuse to engage in practices that separate and dehumanize. We use a restorative justice approach to conflict resolution. We open Brave Space for courage, vulnerability, and moments of discomfort that push us all to grow. Following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Principles of Nonviolence, we seek to dismantle systems, not people. All people are deserving of healing, love, and belonging.
Have the courage to remain hopeful in the midst of hopelessness. We recognize that trauma lives in the body, and our societal culture of violence and dehumanization is in the air that we breathe. We know that if we don’t transform our pain, we run the risk of transmitting it to others, across generations and communities. This is where our opportunity lies, to heal and transform individually and collectively. Just as trauma lives in our bodies, so can justice, liberation, and love. Our work centers on healing from the root of trauma and creating new ways of being in and relating to the world.
We work across differences so we all can be free. Every person, no matter where they come from, matters in our community and movement towards peace. Healing must take place at an individual, household, and community level. All our programs are intergenerational, engaging everyone from babies to elders.
If in doubt love. We meet people where they are and provide nonjudgmental, comprehensive, and individualized support — no matter what. We start with connection and belonging, letting our neighbors know that their lives matter and we will be with them every step of the way.
Know the Truth, Speak the Truth, Be the Truth.
Sat Nam: truth is my identity. Share your truth and create space for everyone to share theirs. Recognizing that oppression falls along gender, racial, and class lines, the interventions we take must be intersectional and honor multiple truths. We place individual and collective well-being at the center, committed to a community that supports the individual and individuals that support the community.
We engage and employ residents to lead our programs, acting as change agents, activists, and role models. At the core of every I Grow Chicago program you will find community involvement. This plants the seeds for a connected and empowered community.
I Grow Chicago’s programming supports:
- Mentorship and supportive services
- Restorative justice and community building
- Yoga and healing practices
- Creative expression
- Urban farming and food access
Comprehensive work can create comprehensive change. This positive change happens when we approach all the issues as the same issue, at the same time. It happens when we approach the whole person and the whole community, at the same time.
Our approach creates space for larger changes:
- Fostering connection
- Nurturing a sense of belonging
- Promoting wellness
- Preserving dignity
- Championing justice
The Path to Peace
Our approach aims to create peace for individuals and communities. When hope and peace are nurtured, we can change a life, a street, a neighborhood and a community. We can change the world.
Philosophy in Action