I AM ABLE Center for Family Development

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  • Investment to Date $50K
  • Students Served TBA
  • Grantee Since 2022
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Founded and incorporated from a strengths-based perspective due to overwhelming challenges and disparities faced by African American and Latino families, I AM ABLE seeks to implement cutting-edge strategies to serve families and the community. A Better Chicago is supporting I AM ABLE’s new school-based program model whereby trained clinicians are staffed in schools to provide holistic mental health and social-emotional support for each of Tier 3, 2, and 1 students within the school.

Why We Invested

I AM ABLE is a local, community-embedded, and culturally-sensitive organization implementing SEL and clinical services for youth to deepen and expand its in-school programming. Their programming is research-backed, trauma-informed, and has led to meaningful outcomes on youth mental health. I AM ABLE is an innovative organization and has placed utmost importance on cost efficiency through identifying programmatic enhancements that can increase the number of students served in a school at little or no additional cost. I AM ABLE’s programming is highly aligned with the North Lawndale Quality of Life Plan. Its focus is on widening the scope and increasing the availability of youth mental health services. I AM ABLE is led by Dr. Carolyn Vessel, a visionary leader with clinical and community expertise.

Looking Ahead

I AM ABLE is eager to partner with A Better Chicago to strengthen its programming and operations and facilitate scale. With A Better Chicago’s support, I AM ABLE is developing a new peer-to-peer mentoring model within their school-based programming to allow students to serve as mentors and host peace circles for their peers. In addition, I AM ABLE is looking to hire more clinicians and expand into new schools with the funding received by A Better Chicago.