When you look at our asset map, it is clear that Woodlawn has many churches, schools, open spaces, gardens, and community organizations. Some of our favorite assets in the neighborhood are Robust coffee shop, YMCA, Bessie Coleman Branch of the Chicago Public Library, and Logan Center for the Arts.
When identifying assets in Woodlawn, we had the opportunity to talk to community members firsthand about their experience living in the neighborhood. Janice, one of the directors at the Martin Pharrell House, said that the community has good resources (parks, lakefront), but that Woodlawn’s greatest asset is the people. Though she said Woodlawn does experience violence, Janice also believes that the violence does not occur because the people are inherently bad; it occurs because there is a lack of opportunity in the area.
Another person we talked to is Adam, the director of @rtifice, a STEM education center. Adam agreed with many of Janice’s points, especially regarding the misconceptions of violence. He said that the people of Woodlawn are friendly and enjoy an abundance of public transportation. The biggest problem in the neighborhood, according to Adam, is the lack of an economic engine. He said that education, especially STEM education which can lead to jobs, is our greatest hope for making change in Woodlawn.