Help children in one of Chicago's toughest communities with desperately needed after school programs in a safe environment. “LaTanya and the Youth of Englewood” is one of these programs and they need your help and funding to keep operating!
Funding Needed NOW: · Additional required insurance coverage to keep the program open 2 additional hours (from 4-6 PM to 4-8 PM) · Van to pick up many of the children as many do not have enough money for bus fare and can't travel unchaperoned in this dangerous area (Car being used now but not big enough) · Funding to provide a healthy snack every day and if we are able to increase the hours, we will need to provide supper – which some of these children never get. · Additional team members from Englewood to support the expanded hours. (Team members receive a modest stipend)
You have heard the stories on the news The community of Englewood on the southwest side of Chicago, once a thriving hub for commerce and families, has become one of the most dangerous and crime ridden parts of the city. Greater Englewood has one of the highest rates of firearm-related homicides in Chicago, at least 3 times the rate of Chicago as a whole.
It is the children who are most at risk One of the biggest problems in the community is children who are left unsupervised or unoccupied from 4 to 8PM. Children are extremely vulnerable to gangs and mischief-makers in this window. Countless studies show a link between exposure to violence in the community and symptoms of aggressive behavior, depression, and anxiety in school-age children living in violent urban neighborhoods. Studies of school-age children exposed to violence via social media and television have also recognized adverse effects over time. When children don’t succeed, it enforces the cycle of poverty and crime in a neighborhood.
Englewood is rising up and taking itself back – and you can help! In 2003 Teamwork Englewood was formed to raise up the community with a Quality of Life Plan. There are a number of grass roots organization contributing to this effort and “LaTanya and the Youth of Englewood” is one of them. LaTanya Johnson started this organization on her own and has been working out of the basement of the local YMCA. Her program works with youth ages 5 to 13 to provide after school activities including recreation, education, communication skill building, social opportunities, advocacy and support. Most importantly, this protective program provides strong relationships with a capable, caring, and positive adults – a key component of helping children cope and succeed in this dangerous and violent environment. She is currently serving 25 kids with a program from 6-8 pm, and hopes to expand to 100 kids and extend the hours to 4-8 pm. She needs your help.
Homegrown leadership – a message from LaTanya... I grew up in the poverty of Englewood. I understand the problems families face. I vowed to help lift children out of this under resourced existence. I know how to reach these children, as well as engage parents in their child's wellbeing. I am well respected by the leaders and citizens of this community for my character and my capacity for uplifting, guiding and advocating for the youth. Having a daughter of Englewood initiate and run this afterschool program is inspirational and motivating for everyone in the community.
As poor as the kids in my program are, I insist they learn community service and we regularly feed and help the homeless and hurting in our neighborhoods. The kids and I also ran in The Englewood "Ditch the Guns and Weight" 5K for the last two years! Please help me make a difference in my community and in the lives of these children.
Sincerely, LaTanya Johnson Founder of “LaTanya and the Youth of Englewood”