In 2010, we opened our doors in North Lawndale.
The idea was simple:
-Provide the best legal representation to juveniles and young adults.
-Offer social supports that treat their trauma and guide them away from courtrooms and jail cells.
Fast-forward to today, and we have served more than 1,000 clients. We’ve placed scores of people in homes and careers. We grew to 61 employees. And we expanded our reach beyond North Lawndale to work with our friends in Austin, Little Village and East Garfield Park.
We’re more than a legal center. We’re a violence-prevention center.
On August 6, 2022, Lawndale Christian Legal Center takes a historic step.
We will start construction on our first-ever residential housing and workforce development center at 1441 S. Keeler Ave. The center will house 20 young men in dormitory-style living and feature fully-staffed offices to guide our clients to home ownership and financial independence in one to three years.
This is a $17 million investment in our community.
We know these services are the solutions our clients need. These are often called second-chance programs, but for many, this is their first chance.
Many of our clients come from unstable homes where money is scarce and substance use is prevalent. They have suffered abuse and neglect, witnessed violence on their blocks and know people who have been shot – or have been shot themselves.
Take a moment to think about where your life would be if you experienced any one – let alone all – of those traumas. That’s a pipeline to more harm. They don’t have the same chances I had growing up.
This will be the first time many clients have a bedroom to call their own. This will be a center free of violence and substance use. This will be a home where they can receive counseling, job training and connections to labor unions and factory jobs. They will learn more about themselves and go forward as Chicago residents we will always be proud to call our family. And we’ll count on them to mentor those who come after them.
Through the redevelopment of a former school, LCLC writes the next chapter of serving our communities – in our communities.
We take a lot of pride in being community-based. We always look to hire from within our neighborhood, and our bylaws state that half of our Board of Directors must be from North Lawndale.
We’re a legal center on a side street just a few steps away from where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived during his time in Chicago. We have a dream. It’s a vision of Chicago that supports our young people so they can support themselves. That’s a safer city. That’s a stronger city. That’s a city that’s open to businesses and visitors from around the world.
We’ve also become partners with the justice system. We’re the community lead for the Circuit Court of Cook County’s first Restorative Justice Community Court that opened in North Lawndale in 2017. We work with the Chicago Police Department on a program to provide limited legal representation to juveniles in custody at Area One.
LCLC has reached this historic moment because we came together as a community to create better outcomes for our young men and women.
Our clients are not just clients. Our colleagues are not just co-workers.
This is a family.
Now we’re going to show everybody what’s possible when you give our family a chance.