Entering Greater Grand Crossing going south bound, you see the most significant buildings of the community. Gary Comer Youth Center and Gary Comer College Prep are the buildings that stand out the most and offer a lot to the community. Going further into the community starts the depression of residents and thru traffic. You start to see the horrible sidewalks with glass, trash, and weeds growing out of them. Also begin to identify the food drought and few grocery stores there are; some being fresh produce while others are fast food places. The neighborhood overall is an urban community that needs changes but also has great opportunities and advantages for everyone.
Gary Comer Youth Center plays an important role in Greater Grand Crossing which is why it’s one of my favorite sites. It offers a lot of opportunities for the youth of all ages and interacts with the community. It also offers positive extracurricular education in a welcoming environment. Gary Comer produces a garden that gives back to the community by providing 1,000 lbs. of fruits and vegetable annually. It functions as an outdoor classroom enriching a variety of mathematics to help prepare for the future. Another one of my favorite sites is the library. Knowing the background and what use to be in the location, which was a motel, increases my interest. Many residents of the community explained how the motel was an “eye sore” in the community because many illegal activities were occurring there. The library also cooperates with the youth with many summer activities and things to do during the school year.
Although I drive through Greater Grand Crossing often, I never noticed the need the community needs. That’s one thing I enjoy about SSP, the program forces us to go out into the community and earn. Also get an advantage to learn about civic engagement, project management, and professional development. Last but not least, I enjoy the range of ages the program allows because it allows different ideas/suggestions to make a positive final project. As a SSP participant I’ve learned team-player skills, communication skills, understanding everyone’s opinion, and different things about the Southeast side communities of Chicago.
Going through many obstacles, we’ve finally came to an agreement of our final project. We will be hosting a health fair at Greater Grand Crossing library on August 2nd from 1-4pm. We’re partnering with the librarian and having local businesses to promote their business with healthy choices. My role in the project is to keep contact with the businesses that are attending and being considerate of all the materials they may need.