United Church of Rogers Park


1545 W. Morse Avenue

Chicago, IL 60626





Circles & Ciphers

Circles and Ciphers have found a home at United Church of Rogers Park. We are pleased to work with this peace initiative which is changing lives of the youth in our community. Here is a brief description of their program.


MISSION: Circles & Ciphers is a leadership development program for disengaged young men that 

uses peace making circles, and hip hop ciphers to transform legacies.


VISION: Circles and Ciphers build and mobilizes a healthy, youth-led community among prisons, 

courts, and gangs involved young men (predominantly African-American, ages 14-22) 

from Chicago. We use hip-hop infused peacemaking circles and creative arts projects 

on a wide variety of themes, including: masculinity; violence; school; gangs and gang 

histories; stereotypes; policing; relationships. Participants are empowered to derail a

legacy of disengagement.

HISTORY: Circles & Ciphers developed out of a volunteer effort with young men placed in a DCFS 

group home at risk of closing. Community members believed that the residents of the 

group home were a major source of community violence and crime. We decided to volunteer with the group home to build community and support for the young men. We offered a safe space where they could share their feelings and experiences using hip- hop to guide conversations. Circles & Ciphers evolved from those conversations.