Connecting, collaborating and mobilizing around a public health approach to violence prevention.


To prevent violence, SCY takes and encourages action utilizing four main strategies.


– Advocate for SCY policy agenda
– Support partner’s advocacy
– Use data to inform policy


– Disseminate Violence Research Agenda
– Implement Recommendations to Support Community Engagement Violence Research
– Support community partner’s use of data





– Lead Juvenile Justice Collaborative
– Incubate emerging ideas


– Hold training and quarterly meetings
– Publish and amplify newsletter and social media
– Support community capacity-building
– Engage people outside of the most affected communities

Impact Data

Impact of Strengthening Chicago’s Youth


Meeting and event attendees in 2019


Say SCY trainings are useful


Agree that SCY is an asset to violence prevention in Chicago

Our Team

Meet the members of the Strengthening Chicago’s Youth Team

Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH

Medical Director

Leslie is the Executive Director of Strengthening Chicago's Youth (SCY) and Director of Violence Prevention Initiatives with the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She is responsible for leading the analysis, development, promotion and implementation of policy and system change strategies to prevent violence in Chicago, including overseeing SCY—a violence prevention collaborative convened by Lurie Children’s. Her current work includes advocating for mental health access, justice reform, gun violence prevention, and increasing investments in Illinois’ youth. Prior to joining Lurie Children's, Leslie 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. 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." data-modal-linkedin="">

Leslie Helmcamp (She/Her), MPAff

Executive Director, Strengthening Chicago's Youth and Director, Violence Prevention Initiatives, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Dion McGill

Manager, Communications and Community Outreach

Brit Johnson

Manager, Violence Prevention Initatives

Kirstin Grabski

Operations Specialist

Cassandra Otoo, MSW

Program Coordinator (JJC)

Kevin Rak

Data Specialist

Savannah Dragan


Malia Rodriguez


Job Positions

If you have a position you would like posted here, please send the title, organization, contact person, brief description and link to full job description to Kirstin Grabski at kgrabski@luriechildrens.org. Job positions will be posted for 30 days.

For Partners

Program Manager, Primary Care Practice Initiatives

Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics


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Support SCY

Become a violence prevention partner today by supporting the work of SCY.