Dear Friends and Community Partners, we are excited about the development that will be spurred by the Obama Presidential Library and the $30million renovation of the Jackson Park golf course with Tiger Woods as the lead designer. We are hopeful that this development will reach the historic area of west Woodlawn.
Although we still have more to do, ProjectHOOD adopted Parkway Gardens in our continued work with gangs, children and families to reduce crime and improve the quality of life of all residents. In 2016, I was pleased with the amount of children we were able to reach through our ongoing mentoring program and how many come to us for guidance.
It is also wonderful to see what we are doing in Project Choices where teen offenders are sent to us by the juvenile justice system. They learn life skills that help them make better choices so that they do not return to criminal behavior. These young men and women and their families are making real progress.
I am especially grateful and appreciative that we, with the help and generosity of our private donors, were able to put on a tremendously successful summer camp program where we provided over 150 children with mentoring, school lessons, activities, supervision and fun. These families could not afford childcare and some of their children could have been left unsupervised each day while their parents worked or searched for employment. Instead, we welcomed them at ProjectHOOD and they had a successful summer.
We also hired 25 young people who would not have had a job during the summer to serve as camp counselors. All 25 counselors are still in school, high school or college, and plan to work at ProjectHOOD again this summer. We only ask that they keep their grades up, stay out of trouble and exhibit positive, responsible behavior.
As development is being planned for our community, west Woodlawn would benefit from more entrepreneurs and businesses coming to the area. This would create an economic environment that would stabilize the community. Companies that already have the financial wherewithal to build capacity could hire from within the neighborhood and young men could move from the corners to jobs and would not have to depend on outside assistance to take care of their families.
I am looking forward to creating our entrepreneur, career and leadership hub where people will learn real skills and job training to help them transform their lives and transform the community.
My sincerest thanks to Manhattan Mechanical Services, Associated Builders and Contractors, Citgo and Metro Ford for being the first to partner with us on this endeavor.
(l-r) Associated Builders and Contractors’ Alicia Martin, Manhattan Mechanical Services’ Michael Uremovich, ProjectHOOD’s Corey Brooks, Citgo’s Peter Colarelli and Metro Ford’s Patrick Milligan, Sr.
While the space we acquired at 6330 S. King Drive is temporary, we are continuing to plan for a long-term community center to holistically address the needs of the community. We are grateful for the grant we received from Jennifer Pritzer’s foundation, the Tawani Foundation, to have our business proposal for the center done by the prestigious Plante Moran consulting firm.
We are making connections with organizations and people who can help us move forward with our center and it is also extremely important to have established and reputable businesses that will place these eager learners and workers in America’s workforce after they successfully complete their job training. What we do not want to do is create hope with no job placement. We need hope and placement.
We are seeking partners in various areas such as, materials, labor and construction. It is essential that we have financial resources so that what we are accomplishing can be sustainable and ongoing. All of this progress is encouraging as we are a quarter way into the new year. May God bless each and every one of you.
All my best,
Pastor Corey B. Brooks