In the past year, the SCY/PAACT team has grown in many ways. We hope to familiarize partners with who is on the team and what they do – in the hopes of making SCY better conveners for community organizations.
1) Hi Kevin! Thanks for spending a moment with us. Can you introduce yourself and tell us about you and your background?
I’m SCY’s new data specialist. I focus on data wrangling and analysis. Before coming to Lurie Children’s Hospital, I worked in several social service organizations and, most, recently, UIC. I have a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in public policy.
2) What drew you to violence prevention work?
When I was working on mental health research at Enlace, a community development organization in Little Village, an opportunity opened up to manage and analyze the data for a violence prevention collaborative. I really admired the work the diverse group of organizations, from Chicago Youth Boxing Club to New Life Centers, was doing in the neighborhood. I was also lucky to work with Enlace’s own violence prevention staff. I wanted to keep supporting important efforts like these.
3) Which of SCY’s Five Focus Areas do you feel that you have the most impact on?
Probably equitable access to high quality mental health services. I’ve been privileged enough to be able to access those resources when I’ve needed them, but I believe they should be a right for everyone, not a privilege. A lot of the work I’ve done in research and advocacy has been about ensuring access to mental and emotional wellness support is more equitable
4) What do you wish everyone know about SCY?
SCY is working on so many different things, from connecting stakeholders to piloting innovative programs to sharing data and best practices. It’s a lot to take in, but I think it reflects the complexity of the issue: if there was a magic cure for violence, we would have done it already. Instead, we need a multi-pronged approach to really reduce violence.
5) Do you have any hidden talents?
I don’t know how hidden it is, but I love to bake. I learned from my mom, who would make hundreds of cookies at Christmas. Fortunately, my partner loves to bake, too: we made our own wedding cake! The photo is of us cutting into it at our wedding.