If you are a youth in crisis, please call: 877-870-2663

We inspire YOUNG PEOPLE to create a JUST FUTURE through practices that heal individuals, restore communities, and transform systems.

Behavioral Health

Learn more about our services supporting youth in their individual healing, and supporting schools to develop supportive and trauma-informed systems.

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Restorative Justice

Learn more about Alternatives’ Restorative Justice programs providing youth training and leadership development and capacity-building to support schools and organization in developing a more restorative culture.

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Learn more about Alternatives’ Policy and Advocacy work supporting campaigns that do more to transform systems and usher in a future where youth are free. 

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Our Core Values


We are an anti-racist, anti-oppression organization. We believe in equity for all people in all social identities and circumstances. For us, this means rejecting methods and practices that originate from, promote, or uphold harmful and unfair systems and embrace those that are culturally responsive.


We believe in liberation and freedom for all people. Our work transforming institutions and systems that harm the communities we serve is as important as direct service with our young people. We speak up for the systemic changes young people need in order to thrive.


As people, we are creative and innovative. As an organization, we are nimble, responsive, and adaptable. We know that change is constant and we move swiftly to address challenges and embrace opportunities.


Our decisions and actions honor humans first, are rooted in evidence, and center the best interests of our young people. We are honest about what we know and what we don’t know. We are open with our successes and our challenges. As humans, we won’t always get it right, but we acknowledge when our impact does not align with our intentions and support each other to strive for better every day.

Social Responsibility

We are part of a complex ecosystem of youth-centered service providers, doing our best to ensure wraparound support for young people to thrive. We share resources and our organizational privileges with others, fostering inclusivity and collaboration. We envision a world where collective action, rooted in empathy and guided by anti-racist principles, paves the way for a brighter and more equitable future for all.

Environmental Justice

We are caretakers of the Earth and commit to safeguarding its resources for present and future generations. We aim to eliminate the unfair harm caused by environmental dangers on communities of color. Our dedication to sustainability touches every facet of our organization and we encourage others – through education and advocacy – to be proactive protectors of the environment.

young people served in FY22


reported increase in their problem solving skills


increase in the number of young people served in Chicago

CPS staff trained in principles of Restorative Justice


Anti-racism resources

Anti-racism resources

View our collection of resources, including articles, books, podcasts, and more that can help you in your personal growth and development in the understanding of anti-racism, allyship, and advocacy

Alternatives’ Podcast

Broken Office Chair is a new podcast produced by Alternatives’ Executive Director, Bessie Alcantara.

In each episode, Bessie will be joined by friends and colleagues, who are ready to talk frankly about topics ranging from challenges for women of color in nonprofit leadership to multicultural marketing and empowering people of color in the workforce.

Cocktails and Complicity

On February 8th, Alternatives hosted our quarterly Cocktails and Complicity Event at Impact House! Guest Speakers Leslé Honoré and Ayoka Noell Mota Samuels joined our Executive Director, Bessie Alcantara to chat about toxic and trust-based philanthropy practices and...

53rd Anniversary Celebration

On Friday, January 26th, 2024, Alternatives' staff and board members gathered for a night of celebration at Nichols Tower. We enjoyed a game of "get to know your coworker" bingo over dinner and refreshments. We also handed out certificates of completion to our...

January Blood Drive

On Friday, January 19th, 2024 Alternatives had our very first blood drive. We want to extend a huge thank you to all of our donors and volunteers. With all of your generous support and donations, we donated enough blood to save over 50 lives! Since the demand for...


When a community invests in its young people, the outcomes can be powerful. Please consider making a gift to help Alternatives continue providing these important services to young people in Chicago.

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If you'd like to learn more about the fellowship and how to apply, sign up for one of our info sessions!

Tuesday, October 10, 2023 4:30 PM

Tuesday, October 24, 2023 4:30 PM