The Making Choices (MC) group is made up of at-risk inner city youth, ages 14 to 19, who voluntarily come to the center. They are from different neighborhoods, gangs, and races and are normally former residents of the juvenile detention center or the Illinois Department of Corrections. First and foremost, the Center provides a safe and respectful place for them to gather and share their story. The Center also provides many opportunities and programs for the youth.

 After School Program

Many youth who we work with struggle with the social and academic responsibilities at school. So, we offer a place where they can get a snack, focus on their homework, and talk about issues in a healthy, supportive environment.  Here many activities enable the youth to tell their story and work together for success and achievement.  Multi-media lab, film, visual arts, community garden, t-shirt enterprise, etc enable a young person to find a means to connect with other youth and restore their own sense of self worth.

 Making Choices Mentoring Program

The MCMP is designed to connect youth of promise with adult role models. The goal is to help youth incarcerated in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center to transition back into their communities.

The Mentor Program is designed to help awaken in each participant a desire to re-enter his community with new goals and motivation.

Saturday Sanction (aka Saturday engagement)

Each Saturday, a group of court-involved youth discuss a destination and experience for the day.  The simple thought is to discover something new outside their local community.  Youth have attended theater productions, raced go-karts, discovered the museums or simply went to the lakefront.

Retreats

We offer youth an opportunity to step out of the neighborhood with all of its chaos and into a time of personal reflection and peace.

Our camping retreat is held in the fall at Tippecanoe State Park in Indiana, with the help of St. Joseph College students and Bro. Tim Hemm, CPSS. The rustic cabins, volleyball court, camp fire, and canoeing all come together to offer a fun, energetic chance to explore the wonders of nature.

Our winter retreat takes place in Ruma, Illinois, where we are guests of the Sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) at their Center of Peace. This modern retreat house, rolling hills complete with ponds and streams, great food, and the Sisters awesome companionship are the ideal complement to self-reflection.

Our summer retreat is held each year at the Giesige Retreat House in Celina, Ohio. Located about five hours from Chicago, this newly constructed home offers a full size kitchen, swimming pond, small town atmosphere, and lots of adventures. A great place to get away.

Visits to colleges and universities offer personal reflection for possible choices to further education beyond high school. Many of the youth would be the first in their family to attend higher education.

 Jail Ministry

In collaboration with Kolbe House, the Chicago Archdioceses Jail Ministry, PBMR is involved in ministering to youth within the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (CCJTDC).

The ministry includes visiting the detention center on Tuesday and Thursday to minister one-on-one to the youth. We sponsor volunteers who join with us in this ministry weekly at CCJTDC.

In addition, every other Saturday PBMR publishes and distributes the Making Choices Newsletter, a compilation of poems and art by individuals incarcerated throughout Illinois.

Every week we have a peacemaking circles with youth in CCJTDC who are charged as adults. These circles are called drumming circle because we include drumming on African djembe drums.