"UMOJA equips young people to succeed in college and confidently claim their future… by building a web of dynamic relationships that brings together schools, families and community partners to bridge the gap between the talents and ambitions of low-income youth and the resources they need to thrive."
To put their mission to action, UMOJA has restorative justice programs at 5 different schools across Chicago. Through these programs, they aim to help students interrupt and prevent conflict and give them a safe place for social and emotional learning while they work toward college readiness.
Loyola’s Mackenzie Vigliotti is in her second semester of a year-long internship with UMOJA that is combined with her social work program requirements. Mackenzie helps in UMOJA’s restorative justice program at Sullivan High School which has taught her that “with every conflict there is a harm done, and we all need to work together to heal it.”
UMOJA program coordinators, Ilana Zafran and Kenny Riley enjoy partnering with Loyola. They appreciate the insight Loyola students bring from their diverse backgrounds and their “willingness to work outside their comfort zones.” With programs across the city, UMOJA is able to place interns in high schools all over Chicago, getting them out to experience different neighborhoods and allowing them to continue learning while giving back to the community.