As a part of Breakthrough’s Violence Prevention efforts, the case management team partners with individuals in the community through long-term, wrap-around support to help them reach self-determined goals. Participants have access to all of Breakthrough’s programs and connections to local partners to foster long-term stability.

Breakthrough’s violence prevention work is in partnership with Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P), a city-wide, community-based violence reduction strategy. Breakthrough is one of 16 lead outreach agencies across the city and implements services that are specific to the goals of the East Garfield Park community.

Achieving goals through partnership

Kenyatta, a mother of three grown children, had just moved to Garfield Park when she was connected with a case manager through an outreach worker at Breakthrough. 

In a year of partnership, she participated in a job readiness training program at Metropolitan Family Services and was employed with Breakthrough as an Event Management Assistant (EMA) to help with Breakthrough’s community events. Her daughter was also employed as an EMA.

“Whatever she asked for, I assisted her with,” says Case Manager Sharonda Smith.

Kenyatta shared with her case manager that she liked to cook for her community. She was connected to Inspiration Kitchens, a restaurant and job training facility in East Garfield Park. She completed a ServSafe Food Handler Certification, with plans to earn the ServSafe Managers Certificate as well. 

“I just love cooking, I have a passion for it,” Kenyatta says. “I want to open up my own restaurant or food truck. When Sharonda told me about the program, it was right on time.”

Case management participants at the Breakthrough Men's Center
Kenyatta, participant in Breakthrough’s Violence Prevention program, at the Breakthrough Men’s Center.

Another goal Kenyatta had was to obtain her GED. Sharonda referred her to Malcolm X College where she, with hard work and determination, completed GED classes. She said it’s been about 30 years that she has hoped to obtain her GED, and it is the partnership with her case manager that has helped her reach her goals.

“I’m just very motivated,” Kenyatta says. “I’m very happy that Breakthrough is here to help. Everything I have done with Breakthrough I have always wanted to do.”

Sharonda said Kenyatta has been a pleasure to partner with. “She was eager to do the things that she wanted and she achieved them,” she says. “It made me happy just to point her in the right direction.”

A Path to Stability

The case management team takes a comprehensive approach as they walk with each individual to long-term stability. One of the ways they do this is with a focus on access to jobs and education.

According to a report by Northwestern Neighborhood Network Initiative (N3), the research partner for CP4P, Breakthrough participants saw a statistically significant increase in the currently employed outcome from 2020 to 2021.

Sharonda said that one of the biggest challenges is that many people don’t know about the resources available to them. “They don’t know where to start,” she says. “A lot of participants are ready to go, all they need is the information and the referrals.”

Kenyatta was ready to reach the goals she set for herself, and with partnership of Breakthrough’s case management team and connections to the resources that aligned with her vision, she achieved them.