Inspirational 815: Life Solutions Help Restore Rockford’s Youth | News







ROCKFORD (WREX) – This week’s Inspirational 815 is a relatively new organization just returning in 2021, but the impact they are having on the youth in our community is simply priceless.

You might not notice as you drive by, but a quiet home tucked away on East State Street is building what they call a tribe of mentors.

Life Solutions aims to help Stateline’s underserved and neglected children ages 15 to 23.

“It’s magical to me, they can take any young person and literally transform them. I’ve seen, besides myself, so many transformations, so many kids through this organization, it’s crazy,” explains Reheem Swift, social media content creator and home manager for Life Decisions.

In difficult times, Life Decisions helped Rahim graduate from high school, get a license and a car.

“They helped me build a lot of confidence. If you talk to Jake or anybody, they’ll tell you when I first came here I was as quiet as a mouse and now I can do things like that, I can talk on stage, things like that,” Raheem explains about growing up. you are with the organization.

Brainchild Jake Rogers realized a need in the community when he was working with children at the Juvenile Detention Center.

He noticed the rapidly revolving door of children returning to the juvenile detention center.

In a 2019 state study, between 2008 and 2013, 87 percent of children were rearrested within 3 years.

“They’ve done better than they should have under the circumstances they’ve been given, and many times they don’t even realize how much they were set up to fail to begin with.” And it’s not anybody’s intention, but they get support in one area but lack it in another area. So it could be that they’re getting support to go back to school and yet the housing and transport to school isn’t really there or the child gets a job but then has nowhere to sleep at night,” explains Jake Rogers , founder and Chief Visionary of Life Decisions.

Jake and his team created 6 pillars that will guide his team’s relational mentoring: housing, self-care, service, work, leadership, and internship.

Jake explains, “Those are the areas where if the needs aren’t met in one of them, we’re just going to continue to see failure or they don’t get the chances they need.”

With service projects, work now programs, and peer mentors, mentors work to foster growth and support.

“When I was in high school, there was a stigma, ‘oh no one comes out of Rockford,’ ‘nobody can come out of the hood.’ This is false, I did it, Raheems did it. I know a lot of people who have. We’re here to show them that it’s possible to get out of these bad situations and not be discouraged by what they’re going through right now,” says Callup Griffis, Assistant Project Coordinator at Life Decisions.

With over 33 youth mentees and 47 adult mentors, Life solutions is working hard to rebuild our community.

Callup explains, “A lot of these kids that we deal with, I’ve been through a lot of situations that they’ve been through, losing parents at a young age, struggling with the foster care system, struggling with homelessness, struggling with addictions. So I can relate to a lot of what they’re going through and it’s really nice for them to have a shoulder to cry on or someone to lean on who’s been through a similar situation.

To learn more about Life Decisions, you can visit their website at: https://www.lifedecisions.net/

If you would like to get in touch to become a mentor or get a youth involved, you can contact them on their email at: [email protected]

You can also support Life Decisions by purchasing their popcorn, which is made and packaged by a group of mentors and youth, to learn more visit: https://www.lifedecisions.net/shop

To learn about the state study focusing on child recidivism, you can visit: https://icjia.illinois.gov/researchhub/articles/examining-the-extent-of-recidivism-in-illinois

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