The Love Unity & Values Institute Welcomes Three New Board Members

Nonprofit to roll out three new career verticals, build eight neighborhood playscapes and train 450 youth-serving professionals over the next three years

CHICAGO – The Love Unity & Values Institute (LUV Institute) announces it has added three members to its board of directors, bringing the total number who serve to nine. The ramp up comes as the nonprofit prepares to execute a three-year strategic plan and add three new career verticals in solar energy, construction, and hospitality, build eight outdoor community healing spaces, or playscapes, for youth and families, and provide professional development for 450 youth-serving professionals.

The LUV Institute, with headquarters at 2907 S. Wabash Ave., mentors underserved youth in Chicago aged 11 to 24 who have experienced trauma and are at-risk of low academic performance. LUV Institute’s specialists use restorative practices, evidence-based strategies, and experiential programs to help youth build resiliency and access greater economic opportunities.

Youth and young adults can access four different “Journey to My Better Self” programs – Artistic
Expression, Career Academy, Entrepreneurship, and Media Empowerment – as well as a certified nurse’s assistant program and restorative practices (circle keeper) training and certification. Students also have opportunities to participate in special projects and field trips throughout the year. Since 2012, the LUV Institute has served more than 3,200 young people. Seventy-eight percent have either gone on to attend college or been placed in a job, with a 72 percent retention rate.

LUV Institute’s board members represent a cross-section of the business, education, and nonprofit sectors and are change-makers in their respective fields.

“Our board members are invested in young people, and they are concerned about their welfare and their future,” said Cosette Nazon-Wilburn, Executive Director of LUV Institute. “We recognize that we are models for the kids – what we model is what they pick up. So, it’s important that we show up and provide them with the tools to help them find their voice and pathways to future success.”

The new board members include:

Dr. Dan’iel Kendricks, Chief Program Officer for the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, is a social impact and executive leader with over 20 years of experience developing and implementing person-centered programs and services. She is passionate about fighting social inequality and helping individuals and communities build resilience while overcoming adversity. Dr. Kendricks, whose graduate dissertation was on Chicago drill music, was featured in the Paramount + documentary “As We Speak” about Chicago’s drill music scene.

Todd Barnett is Director of Partnerships, Family and Community Engagement at the University of Chicago Charter School. Since 2015, Barnett has been a tremendous supporter and partner of
LUV Institute who understands the value of our work, especially professional development for his teachers. Barnett advocates for his team and fervently believes in the power of restorative justice practices and social-emotional support to help students realize their full potential.

Andrew Wells, Vice President of Workforce Development for the Chicago Urban League, has 15 years of experience working in employment and training. For the Urban League, he oversees all aspects of the Workforce Development Center and provides strategic leadership to the workforce staff, its contractors and interns, and coordinates the development and implementation of all employment and training initiatives.

Media contact: Shawn Taylor | | 312-371-6260

December 11, 2023

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