Tio Hardiman grew up in Chicago’s Henry Horner projects and Avalon Park community. He attended Hirsch High School and later on received his GED, Associates Degree, Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts and Master’s in Inner City Studies from Northeastern University.
In 1996, Tio started working for The Chicago Alliance for Neighborhood Safety where he organized over 50 block clubs and facilitated problem solving sessions for crime ridden communities. Tio went on to work for Bethel New Life as a community organizer. Tio tasks included working with community residents, elected officials and clergy members to help reduce crime in Chicago.
In 1999, Tio joined The Chicago Project for Violence Prevention (CPVP) located at UIC’s School of Public Health. Tio works with CPVP’s CeaseFire Initiative. CeaseFire works with community, city, county, state and national partners to design community violence prevention programs. The neighborhoods that Tio serves have experienced 40%-60% reductions in shootings since the implementation of CeaseFire. These neighborhoods include West Garfield Park, Englewood, Maywood, Logan Square, Roseland, Rogers Park and others. Cities such as Los Angeles, Baltimore, New Orleans, Pittsburg and New Jersey have all shown interest in CeaseFire. Tio has presented at several conferences across the United States and served as a consultant for The National Institute for Justice. Tio has established relationships with congressmen, cardinals, state officials, clergy leaders, entertainers, gang leaders, business people, mayors, and had the opportunity to meet with First Lady Laura Bush on two occasions. Tio has received various awards for his outstanding dedication to help Chicago reduce crime.
Tio’s past was a different story. From the late 70s to the mid 80s Tio struggled with drugs and alcohol before turning his life around in 1986. Working the 12 steps of recovery helped him crystallize his perspective on his past, present and future. Tio has given back to the community by opening a recovery home for women, producing alcohol and drug free events as well as mentoring. Tio’s story “Death of an Addict” is an urban biography currently available in DVD form, which traces Tio’s life from childhood. It is available through firstname.lastname@example.org along with the family comedy “A Stepper’s Story” which he wrote and produced. Tio has demonstrated how a person can overcome adversity by staying focused and believing in a vision. He is making black history everyday by being a positive role model/mentor and a true champion for violence prevention.