My name is Jada, and I am in Team South Chicago group. The neighborhood that I am working in with my team is a neighborhood that I believe has potential to change into something beautiful and positive. Right now, the neighborhood sidewalks are littered because of a lack of trashcans in the community. Also people who work in the neighborhood say there is a lot of gang violence.
While being in the South Chicago neighborhood, my favorite spot or site to visit has been the Art Center because of the smiles on the childrens’ faces and how their faces light up with joy when they’re curious and learning. Another site that I enjoyed with the whole SSP group was Maria’s Shelter. This was my favorite site to visit because it felt like I was helping when help was needed. When I volunteered in the kitchen, it seemed like endlessly unpacking. But when I saw old canned food on the shelves, I was elated to throw those away and replace them with the new fresh foods.
So far in the program, I love that people can be open minded and try new things. I am passionate about this because you get to learn from other people’s perspectives and try new things that you may not know you would like or dislike.
As a participant of SSP, what I have learned so far is topics that people don’t often talk about amongst groups including sex, health, and domestic violence. I believe that these things are important because it is extremely important that we know about being healthy to know when to walk away from an abusive partner. I have also learned that not a lot of people think a lot, and go about solving issues the same way.
The final project that my team is working on is working with Alderman Pope and the Art Center to beautify the area around the garden. By beautifying this area, we would need Alderman Pope to help us fix the sidewalk, adding trashcans so people can be mindful of where they throw their trash, and putting up a gate. We also would add stepping stones leading up to the garden with fast hands that the youth from the Art Center and the children around the community would help paint. Team South Chicago thought that we could put a seating area for people who would like to sit in the garden, and for children of the Art Center.
This job so far has been an awesome opportunity because I’m experiencing life work and it gets me thinking of what I want to become in the future. The best thing about this job is that I’m working in my community South Chicago and even though I live here there were so many places I hadn’t went to which means that this job is also an opportunity to get to know more about the neighborhood. This neighborhood has been impacted by the violence in a very high level which makes people want to move to another place in which they feel more safe. In the process of finding a community service project our team South Chicago did a couple of community service sessions in the South Chicago Art Center, YMCA, and in the middle school New Sullivan. My favorite visits were the Art Center garden and cooking class, in which our team participated. I like this the most because it was my first time going into the Art Center to see what kind of activities children and teenagers do in there. I found it really cool because it is a place in which i can have a very good time in making art or helping with their garden. Moreover, my second favorite place that we visited was the YMCA because we are helping their program called “Hoops In the Hood” which was a great experience collaborating with the neighborhood kids in a basketball practice for their tournament. What I like about this job is that is helping me decide about what I would like to do in the future is making me think what would be the best career to choose. I have learned a lot of things as an SSP participant about Health Disparities, Obesity, Violence, and Sexual Health. Our team’s final project is to put up a fence next to the sidewalk that leads to the art center garden and decorate it with art by making a peace path. We will get trash cans for the garden, replace the sidewalk, and make a sitting area.The role that I would be playing in it is by helping put up the fence and to help with the other plans that we have for this garden.