Levin Rebecca Headshot

Rebecca Levin, MPH
Executive Director
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(312) 227-6948 

Rebecca (Becky) Levin, MPH, Executive Director of Strengthening Chicago's Youth (SCY), has worked in the violence and injury prevention field for over 16 years. In addition to her role with SCY, Becky is also the Strategic Director of the Injury Prevention and Research Center at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and services as Principal Investigator and Co-Chair for the Preventing Alcohol Abuse in Chicago Teens (PAACT) Coalition. Becky chairs the Illinois Partnership for Safety, is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and serves on the Midwest Injury Prevention Alliance Board. Before coming to Lurie Children's in 2011, Becky worked at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for 12 years, overseeing all violence and injury prevention efforts. She was one of the lead staff on development of the AAP violence prevention program Connected Kids: Safe, Strong, Secure. At the AAP, she served as Project Director/Principal Investigator for numerous federally and privately funded injury and violence projects and held leadership positions on several federal expert groups addressing community-based violence prevention, injury prevention, and parenting. Becky received her bachelor's degree in Integrated Science and Biology from Northwestern University and her master's degree in Health Policy and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also a trained Peace Circle Keeper.

 Karen Sheehan

Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH
Medical Director
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Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH is a Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. In addition to her role with SCY, she is also the founding Medical Director of the Injury Prevention and Research Center (IPRC) at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago which focuses on unintentional and intentional (including child abuse) pediatric injury prevention. Dr. Sheehan's research and practice has been community engaged ranging from using community based participatory research to evaluate youth development programming as a strategy to prevent violence to applying policy-system-environmental change strategies in her work with the Chicago Park District to help inform the replacement of 350 playgrounds because of safety issues. Dr. Sheehan has held leadership positions in the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, Kids in Danger, and the American Academy of Pediatrics' former Section on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.


Leslie Helmcamp, MPAff
Policy Manager
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(312) 227-7025

Leslie Helmcamp, SCY's Policy Manager is responsible for leading analysis, development, promotion and implementation of policy and system change strategies to prevent violence in Chicago. Her role includes co-managing the Juvenile Justice Collaborative, an innovative program designed to help young people who have been arrested to access community services and avoid further involvement with the justice system. Over the past 17 years, Leslie has worked as a policy advocate to promote economic opportunity for low-income families, including improving college access and completion, promoting workforce and skills development, and supporting families to become more financially secure. Her most recent work includes supporting juvenile justice reform efforts and advocating for increased investments in Illinois’ youth. Leslie earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Before pursuing graduate work, Leslie served as the director of the Immigration Legal Services program of Catholic Charities of Central Texas where she provided direct services to immigrant families.


Dion McGill

Communications and Community Outreach Manager
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(312) 227-1087

Dion McGill is the Manager of Communications and Community Outreach for Strengthening Chicago's Youth (SCY), responsible for developing and implementing a communication and outreach strategy for the organization. Prior to joining SCY, Dion worked with the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence where he managed and facilitated the ICHV's education initiatives and programs. Dion is a licensed Illinois state educator with experience teaching at both the middle and high schools levels, as well as a US Army veteran, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from Saint Xavier University, where he was the Outstanding History Department Scholar for the 2010 graduating class.


Ed Boone

Edward Boone
Community Programs Coordinator
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(312) 227-7064

Edward Boone, Community Programs Coordinator with Strengthening Chicago's Youth is responsible for building relationships with key community organizations and institutions to cultivate support for and participation in community-based efforts. Ed also provides community-level coordination of SCY projects such as gathering information about community needs and resources, working with community-based partners to develop strategies, and providing training and support to community-based partners. In addition to his role with SCY, Ed is also the Vice Chair of the Kells Park Advisory Council in West Humboldt Park, working to promote safety and positive activities in the park, and serves on the Humboldt Park Safety Committee, a group committed to creating a safe environment for area youth. Before coming to SCY in December 2014, Ed worked as a Community Programs Coordinator with the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) for over with years where he spearheaded the Healthy Corner Stores campaign, initiated in West Humboldt Park then expanded into other communities to promote healthier alternatives in local stores. Ed attended Waller High school and continued on to Columbia College studying music. In 2011, Ed received the Neighborhood Housing Service's Neighborhood Leadership Award for his efforts to improve the quality of life in the West Humboldt Park community.

Kirstin Grabski
Operations Coordinator
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(312) 227-7086

Kirstin Grabski is the Operations Coordinator for Strengthening Chicago's Youth (SCY), responsible for various administrative and communication efforts. Kirstin's role with SCY involves preparation for trainings, meetings, partner collaboration, social media and the bi-monthly newsletter. Kirstin has also worked with the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) as administrative and fiscal support. Before coming to SCY in July 2016, Kirstin has spent time working with Tutoring Chicago, a free tutoring service for economically disadvantaged youth in Chicago as safe place for learning and mentoring. Kirstin attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Communication with an interest in Health Communication.


Cassandra Otoo, MSW
Program Coordinator (JJC)
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Cassandra Otoo, SCY's Program Coordinator is responsible for the daily programmatic responsibilities related to the Juvenile Justice Collaborative (JJC). She coordinates all communications with Collaborative partners, including care coordinators, service providers and SCY team members. Cassandra is an experienced social worker who has served over 15 years providing direct services to students who have been expelled or pending adjudication from Chicago Public Schools. Cassandra has served in the capacity of District SAFE School Coordinator and Juvenile Justice Re-engagement Manager for CPS. In these roles, she has been instrumental in the development of reentry plans and partnering with community organizations in servicing the Juvenile Justice Population. Most recently, she has worked at the University of Illinois Chicago as the Assistant Regional Manager for the Division of Specialized Care for Children. She co-lead implementation of establishing best practices among Care Coordinators for medically fragile and technology dependent youth. Cassandra earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Social Work from Aurora University. She has been a catalyst of change in supporting youth who have been given a limited voice due to the economic and environmental disparities placed largely on African American communities. She applies the motto "to whom much is given much is required" to all aspects of her advocacy as she works to reduce violence among youth. 


Kate Spitzer-Cohn
Program Coordinator
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312-227-1086

Kate Spitzer-Cohn is the Program Coordinator for SCY, responsible for developing and maintaining project databases and tracking logs, ensuring compliance with grant reporting requirements, tracking and reporting program outcomes, and developing materials on violence and substance use data and evidence-based prevention strategies. In addition to her work with SCY, Kate also works with the Preventing Alcohol Abuse in Chicago Teens (PAACT) Coalition. Prior to joining SCY, she worked with the Illinois Violent Death Reporting System (IVDRS), abstracting data and tracking progress, as well as working on various projects for the Child Health Data Lab (CHDL). Kate attended Northwestern University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.


Megan Larson
Data Specialist
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Megan Larson is the Data Specialist for SCY, responsible for analyzing and formatting violence data and evidence-based violence prevention strategies. Before joining SCY, Megan worked with Measures for Justice where she collected and analyzed court data in efforts to measure the criminal justice process at the local level. She also spent time in Armenia developing a domestic violence awareness and prevention training series for youth. Megan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Purdue University Northwest and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology from Loyola University Chicago.