Sunday, December 02, 2012

Votes For Peace

In Chicago, politics is about teaching kids to find their inner campaign worker:
On a chilly afternoon this fall, teenagers across Chicago's South Side were busy at work, earning $8.75 an hour to hand out fliers with a message of non-violence.

"Our message that we're giving out today is about being healthy," said 18-year-old Lucia Eloisa. "One of the key pointers is about taking time to reflect and seek inner peace."

Eloisa's part-time job was paid for by an ambitious state-funded program to keep at-risk teenagers out of trouble. It pumped nearly $55 million into Chicago's toughest neighborhoods and three of its suburbs to stem unrelenting gang violence.

A four-month CNN investigation found that not only did the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) pay teens to hand out fliers promoting inner peace, it also paid these at-risk teens to take field trips to museums, march in a parade with the governor, and even attend a yoga class to learn how to handle stress.
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Politically motivated or not, it's hard to argue that the nearly $55 million spent on the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative helped stem violence in Chicago. Two years after the program was implemented, there have been 476 murders in the city, a nearly 20 percent increase over 2011.
I guess the yoga didn't take...

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