Last year, when Renay Hopkins lost her job, it was a frustrating and laborious effort to find a new one. While searching, she moved in with her grandmother to save some money. She recommended that Renay visit Austin Coming Together (ACT), a social service organization and United Way partner in her southwest neighborhood.
A few weeks ago, more than 400 youth from six Brighton Park schools met to tackle some of the challenges they face in their community — from police violence and unhealthy relationships to adultism and violations of immigrants’ rights.
As a young boy growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Rasheed Sami faced struggles that no child should. Some days, there wasn’t food on his table. Today, Rasheed, who’s almost 30, uses those struggles to empower others who face similar circumstances. Most recently in his journey to healing, Rasheed attended an educational symposium designed to teach South Chicago residents about trauma, how it can manifest in your life and tips to better respond to its effects.
Over the holiday season, Maria Robles, a West Chicago mom, and her son were suddenly forced out of their home. At a time when they should be celebrating, they found themselves in crisis. For help, she turned to Crystal Dela Huerta, a family liaison working in her son’s school.
In addition to living in an area known as a “food desert,” Deborah was working on a tight budget. Instead of trying to stretch her dollars at the closest affordable store, she stopped at Blue Cap Pantry, a food bank serving Blue Island, Robbins and the surrounding communities each and every Tuesday. Housed in a bright, airy warehouse in Blue Cap’s building, the pantry opened last September to bring healthy food options to the region.
Despite its great cultural and economic contributions to Chicago, Bronzeville is still recovering from decades of disinvestment. To address the existing inequities, a local non-profit is making long-term plans to revitalize the community through its workforce. To spur lasting change, Bright Star Community Outreach invests in Bronzeville’s future — its youth.