Arts and youth matter! With budget cuts and increasing political issues, nonprofits such as Donda’s House are in need of resources. Please support this amazing organization as it continues to educate the community and provide a safe-environment for the people of Chicago.
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Launched August 2013, Donda’s House “Got Bars” program is slowly making its mark as the creative hub of our generation. Founded by the legendary Kanye West and led by Che “Rhymefest” Smith. Rhymefest, childhood friend and West’s cowriter, started the “Got Bars” program with the focus on music/lyric composition and performance. This unique program aimed towards 15-24 year olds, prides itself on the “90’s artist environment” where all artists are pushed to become creative mentally and physically.
Backed by the largest names in hip hop, Kanye West and Rhymefest, applicants from different corners of the city wrestled the cold Chicago weather to be part of the Donda Family. As the air grew thicker inside the Ark of St. Sabina, tensions ran high as applicants proved why they earned their title as an artist.
Organizations that focus on development and support of youths are pillars in Chicago’s communities. Project: VISION is one such nonprofit organization that helps youths in the Chinatown and Bridgeport neighborhoods. Last month we had a chance to talk about Project: VISION with its executive director, Karen Chiu, and development coordinator, Sandy Guan.
Project: VISION was founded in 2003 by Chiu and four fellow co-founders. Chiu, a physician, was an active community volunteer in the Chinatown neighborhood in which she grew up. After volunteering for a youth program in between years at medical school, the experience gave her the idea of providing services for youth development in Chinatown and neighboring Bridgeport. Project: VISION focuses specifically on helping adolescents in the 12-18 year old range. Programs offered include after school homework tutoring, college workshops and ACT prep classes. In addition to these educational services, Project: VISION also creates programs to encourage students to get involved in community service and to develop leadership skills.
Here on Chicago Rises, we’ve mentioned some of the great things going on at Zealous Good, but there’s much more you can learn. Zealous Good connects people and companies with items to donate with the nonprofit organizations and charities in Chicago that need them most. We recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with its founder, Brittany Martin Graunke.
In late December, I had the privilege to visit the The Learning Center, a non-profit providing free adult education in the North Lawndale and Little Village neighborhoods.
Through a partnership with Malcolm X College, they help students improve reading, writing and math skills while also preparing some for the GED test. The Learning Center also offers employment assistance, and financial and education counseling.
Just from one conversation with Marilu, the director of The Learning Center, you can see the passion and dedication that people like her and countless others in Chicago put forth to help ones in need. It is truly inspirational.