Woodlawn is a very interesting neighborhood. It expands from 67th St to 61st St, Lake Shore Dr to King Dr (400 E). There are nice parts and there are not-so-nice parts. Overall Woodlawn is a pretty nice neighborhood.
As a team we have visited The Bessie Coleman Library, The Living Room Café, Langley Church, Jackson Park District, The Experimental Station, Park Shore Elderly, YWCA and Alderman Cochran’s Office (all of which we have or will be volunteering, with the exception of the YWCA and the Jackson Park District and The Alderman’s Office). My favorite of these is The Living Room Café (LRC). The Living Room Café is a non-profit organization that helps a lot of people in need. It’s my favorite mostly because of a very wise man named Caesari Marsh (who manages the LRC). Mr. Marsh is really cool and always has a nice story or great wisdom to share. One that is commonly like in Team Woodlawn is the one about “The Pillars”. Mr. Marsh was asked about his leadership in the community and he simply said he is not a leader. He is someone who help supports the community. He then continued to talk about “the pillars” of the community which are those who also support and hold up the community. Mr. Marsh has been really helpful and supportive of what we are trying to do in the community and he is really appreciated. So if you hear my team or I say “1-2-3 GO PILLARS” don’t be alarmed it’s a Woodlawn thing :P. We are “The Pillars”.
In the 4 weeks I have been working with SSP, we have visited many awesome sites as individual teams and as an entire group, but my favorite was the Chicago History Museum. The museum helped me understand a lot about the culture and background of Chicago. It was very informative and I was able to go home and inform my mother (who has lived here about 2 decades) of things she did not know or was unsure of. All off the visits I loved, but if I had to choose, The Living Room Café and The Chicago History Museum were definitely my favorites.
Through SSP, I am given the opportunity to help better and give back to communities, particularly those in need. Also through our summer service projects, it gives me the chance to see improvements in poor, violent, food deserted, low resourced neighborhoods. It gives me and my peers a chance to make a difference. Allowing the youth to take part in such a process and to experience first-hand the effects of a team working together towards a common goal is what I like most about this program. It gives us younger people a voice on what we feel is damaging the communities and how we feel it should be addressed. I have participated in many different community projects and outreaches (mostly in Mississippi), but SSP is by far one of my favorites. I rank it in my top 5. I like helping a different community other than the one I am from because I get to see the needs of different communities and compare them to the ones I am most familiar with. I find it funny that as a team we chose obesity as a health topic, because MS has one of the highest percentage rates in obesity. I’ve always wanted to contribute in some way to this particular health topic and I’m happy to be doing that with SSP and everything I learned here I know I can carry with me to share with and inform my friends in family back home in Mississippi.