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Most of this week consisted of doing work in the Woodlawn community. On Monday, we met at Living Hope Church. There we talked to Pastor Brad. We learned about his position in the community and the different programs he provided, which include a 9-month job training program and an all-day children summer camp that is hopeful to start up within the next few weeks. Our group cleaned out the lots that were full of feces, bottles, chip bags, and all kinds of other garbage in hope of creating a safe haven the children can play in. After we left the church, we volunteered at the Bessie Coleman library where we did humorous hands on activities with the children. Wrapping up the day we met at the Living Room Cafe where we met a community leader. As an advocate for a safe community and jobs for all, he provided us with background about the Woodlawn community. Growing up in three gangs and becoming addicted to drugs, he discovered that it was time to make a change. Being hired by the Living Room Cafe was his way of changing his life.

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“We provide a space for people to come in, enjoy coffee, hang out…We offer meals and a food pantry to help with nutritional support. We see ourselves as a partner with the community.” –Ann, Director of Living Room Cafe

After that we met Pastor Monte. We got to look around at the community garden and get an idea of the work that needed to be done there. On Tuesday we volunteered at Blackstone Bicycle Works, our favorite place! They were leading a youth program and we were able to strip down an entire bike. Great experience. We wrapped up the day playing scrabble and doing personal reflections. On Wednesday, we visited a BP site where petcoke is manufactured. We were able to see how the petcoke affected the daily activities of people in the community and the negative effects on their health. Wrapping up the week on Thursday we did mentor-led programming and played games.

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Maggie and Julie participating in the team-building activities!

-Asmina Turner

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