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Adorah: My first week of SSP was awesome. It was really nice meeting the members in my team and connecting with them. We all seem to have a lot in common and understand one another and respect each other’s differences. I feel like I have known them for forever. The other teams are really cool as well. Woodlawn has a lot of history within it. We learned about many of its problems. Some of its problems are health issues and being able to get the proper treatment needed, gangs and violence, people homeless and not having a proper meal, and etc. We also got a chance to visit many different organizations that provide resources to people in need. For example, the Living Room Café is a place where if you are having problems paying a bill, or need food to eat, or are trying to apply for a job, they help provide you with what you need or direct you to the resource that helps in your specific situation. This community is very interesting and I’m learning a lot that I didn’t know before. I am excited to continue learning about this community, understanding what it has and doesn’t have, and creating a plan to help better the community.

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Taylor: Our team discovered and visited many different places around the Woodlawn area. We first went to the Living Room Cafe, where we spoke with two speakers/leaders Mr. Marsh and Mr. Echols who shared their life experiences within the community and furthered our knowledge about the community. We then went to the Jackson Park and spoke with a lady who worked there for a while about what it’s like there and its 500 acres and takes up most of the Woodlawn area. Next we went to a senior building for the disabled where seniors get to do fun things like ice cream socials, bingo, a coffee clutch day, etc. We also saw many places just walking around the Woodlawn community such as a restaurant called Daley’s, Farmers Market, Cosmos, Hyde Park Academy, etc. I went to many places this past week that I never knew were in the Woodlawn community and I have been living here all my life. This shows that there is a lot to discover and you learn and experience new things everyday.

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Michael: My days started off early in the morning with a very hard football practice and a march to the college campus. As hours went by I became very tired and realized I was exhausted. I needed to do something instead of sitting down for hours of the day. These were some of my personal challenges this week. Overall, I am very happy that my group feels like a family. I’m glad that the mentors I have are kind and think/ act in similar ways as we do (not in a bad way). Jen, Kelli, and Lizzy are all cool. I really like them, and I am looking forward to having an awesome work experience with them.

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Alexis: My first week being out in my community (Woodlawn) was very interesting. We met a lot of people that have big influences on the Woodlawn community. We met a man named Mr.Marsh, and he talked to us about his experience in the Woodlawn community and how he is currently trying to help rebuild it. Then we met with Mr. Brian Echols who also talked to us about what he felt the issues were in theWoodlawn community and how he played a role in giving back to his community. We also met with the Jackson Park District and Park Shore Housing and they talked to us about the different programs that they offered for the Woodlawn community and their contributions. Lastly, we talked to the Blackstone Bikeworks and 61st Street Farmers’ Market. We learned about how they had a lot of different programs for smaller children and older children. The overall challenges were the mainly the same for everybody. They all felt like a lot of the people in the community were lacking skills that they needs to live a healthy human life and lack of resources.

Meeting everybody was a great experience. I really enjoyed talking to everybody and learning how they give back to the community. I didn’t know a lot about the Woodlawn area except for my school and the places I traveled after school. I learned that there are a lot of assets in the Woodlawn area that are available to anybody. I also learned that most of the activities are for the youth and majority of the skills-based classes are for the adults.

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