Category: Lifestyle

Photo Essay: For Local Students, Prom is More Than a Night (Part II)

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Joshua Bell-Bey, inside of his Forest Park home, prepares to go to prom. | Sebastian Hidalgo (See more below).

Thursday, May 18, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Last month, the Village Free Press, with the key sponsorship of the Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood Chambers of Commerce, hosted an essay contest.

We urged those students attending prom this year in Proviso Township High Schools District 209 to write a short piece on the following prompt: Describe how attending prom is a highly anticipated milestone that will prepare you for the next chapter of your life?

The students who wrote the three highest vote-getting essays received first, second and third place cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100, respectively. The first-place winner was featured in a full-page photo essay, with a photographer and VFP reporter covering the big day from preparation to prom night.

All five finalists will have their prom sendoffs photographed and will receive free digital access to those photos, some of which were featured online and in the May and June print issues of the Village Free Press.

The winners were (from first- to fifth-place):

  • Dominique Wallace, Proviso East
  • Diana Guzman, Proviso West
  • Daisy Zaragoza, PMSA
  • Cynthia Suaste, PMSA
  • Joshua Bell-Bey, PMSA

Note: Daisy Zaragoza’s photos will be featured in the June print issue of the Village Free Press, since her prom took place after the print deadline. Part II of this prom photo series will be published tomorrow, May 17.

Daisy Zaragoza, simply flourishes   

Daisy Zaragoza in a Lombard park with friends before they head off to prom. | Shanel Romain 

Elegance is the only beauty that never fades. (Audrey Hepburn)

Style is a way to say who your are without having to speak. (Rachel Zoe)

Joshua Bell-Bey, classic man 

JoshuaBell_Prom-3 (1)Bell-Bey outside of his Forest Park home before going off to prom. | Sebastian Hidalgo

I burn through the hood like whoa / When everybody’s feeling so cold / I’m cool like Nat King Cole / And [people] get a bit of my glow. (Jidenna)

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re·flec·tion: the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it (‘the reflection of light’).

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GQ Style Commandment No. 2: ‘Thou shalt wear sneakers made for a man’

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Village People: Cassie Dodd, 28, is Feeling Free

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Maywood native and fashion designer Cassie Dodd wears a gown she created. Below, she poses with models donning her clothing line, which includes gowns she’s designed for prom. | Submitted photos 

Cassie Dodd along with other modelsWednesday, May 17, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Cassie Dodd, a Maywood native, actress and full-time fashion designer, recently hosted a show in Chicago that featured the spring collection of her C. Marie Designs fashion line. Her clothing has also been featured during Black Fashion Week USA, among other platforms.

Dodd, who graduated from Northern Illinois University, learned to sew at Proviso East High School, her other alma mater.

In a recent email, Dodd explained her motivation and her journey in the world of design.

I learned the basics of sewing at Proviso East, but later I taught myself everything else about sewing and fashion. The class, fashion tech, was so much fun. Other than English, it was one of my favorite classes.

Although I got my bachelor’s degree in political science and public law, and community leadership and civic engagement in advocacy, I transitioned into sewing after college because my desire is to design. I’ve always been creative. As I saw members of my family going off to prom, the more I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I can make their dresses.’ So, in 2014, when one of my nieces started getting ready for prom, I took advantage of the opportunity to show what I could do. It went extremely well.

Cassie Dodd designs

Right now, I design full-time and work as an extra on TV shows that film in Chicago like “Chicago PD,” “Chicago Justice,” “Chicago Fire,” “Empire” and others (to name a few).

On April 29, I hosted the first show, called The Emancipation of C. Marie Designs, to feature only my designs at the Douglas Park Ballroom in Chicago. I displayed my bridal collection, summer wear and couture looks.

I drew my inspiration from ancient queendoms and Nubian warriors. When I create, I’m naturally drawn to patterns and colors that reflect my African ancestors. I love sequin and all things glam, but African prints are my favorite. As Maya Angelou said, “I come as one but I stand as 10,000.”

I came as one, but people need to know that I am standing on the shoulders of the thousands that came before me. The ones who died for all of my opportunities to be educated, fearlessly creative and unapologetically me. VFP

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Photo Essay: For Local Students, Prom is More Than a Night (Part I)

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Dominique Wallace prepares for prom at her brother’s home in Broadview, where her sister-in-law, Kayla Boddy, made her up for the night. See more of Boddy’s work here. | Sebastian Hidalgo 

Dominique Wallace_FiveTuesday, May 16, 2017 || By Michael Romain || Photos by Sebastian Hidalgo & Shanel Romain || @maywoodnews

Dominique Wallace, a senior track star at Proviso East High School, is the youngest of Evelyn Wallace’s five kids. Her prom date, Jon Sylvester Jr., is a senior at the school and a track star and the youngest of Lisa Shell’s five kids. They are both college-bound. And for both of them, April 28 — prom night — is bittersweet.

“I wish his father was here,” says Shell as her son strolls through Wallace’s crowded living room with his track coaches and teammates beaming behind him. Many people in the house, located in Maywood, are seeing Sylvester suited up for the first time during one of the biggest nights of his life.

Sylvester’s father, Jon Sylvester Sr., died around a decade ago. Wallace’s brother, Erskine Boddy IV, died last September from cancer. Her grandmother, Janice Johnson, died earlier this year.

Dominique will hold a cut-out of Erskine’s portrait while she and Jon bask in the camera phone light emitted from well-wishers moments before they ride off to their destination. Her grandmother’s cherished dog, now hers, will watch the whole affair from a comfortable spot on the family’s front lawn.

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“I happen to know part of her story and so I hope she knows why I’m proud,” Wallace’s principal, Dr. Patrick Hardy, tells a small group gathered earlier during the day at the high school after it was announced that Wallace had won a prom-related essay contest.

“Everything you accomplish is for a reason and it pushes you to the next notch. It just fills that story up,” Hardy says.

If there’s a beginning to that story, it may well be some three decades ago in a classroom inside of Proviso West High School. Evelyn, a senior, was pregnant with her first child.

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“I was in school when my bag broke,” Evelyn says. “I only needed one class to graduate.”

She would carry her kids to her nursing classes, “taking them to school with me at night.”

She went to work and then to Triton, taking night classes and working full-time during the day. She put herself through nursing school. CNA, LPN and RN — in that order. Over that period, she got married and divorce and had more children until she looked up and was a single mother of four.

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“You know, with each one, my main thing I focused on is God, education and then sports,” Evelyn said.

Her oldest daughter, Enjoli Edwards, 30, was an all-state track star in high school who is now studying law. Erskine, who played college basketball, was an engineer.

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Anthony Boddy, 25, played college football and briefly flirted with entering the NFL draft before deciding to focus on engineering. Her second-youngest daughter, Alexis, is studying pre-med. Wallace didn’t say whether or not Alexis she played sports, but that can be assumed. Dominique, like her brothers, has an interest in engineering and plans to study the field in college.

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Hours before driving to her mother’s Maywood home for her prom sendoff, Wallace  sits in the basement of Anthony’s Broadview home, which he remodeled with his own hands (he’s even built himself a movie theater) as Anthony’s wife, Kayla, 23, applies makeup.

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Wallace wears a silk gown and layers of stress. She’s thinking about Jon Sylvester’s suit and whether or not it might match her dress, which Anthony designed on his smartphone.

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Enjoli is holding Anthony’s and Kayla’s newborn child, Anthony Jr., while grappling with the fact that her baby sister, Evelyn’s youngest child, is going off to prom and, soon, to college, and then, into the world.

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“I’m happy but also sad because she’s going to go away and off to college,” Dominque’s father, Curtis Wallace, will say as his daughter prepares to emerge from her parents’ house and into a crowd of friends and relatives and neighbors, their phones outstretched.

“I kind of feel like Fred from Sanford and Son. You know how Fred was always trying to fool his son into not leaving? I’m kind of like that with her.” VFP

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A ‘Purpose-filled Prom’

Last month, the Village Free Press, with the key sponsorship of the Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood Chambers of Commerce, hosted an essay contest.

We urged those students attending prom this year in Proviso Township High Schools District 209 to write a short piece on the following prompt: Describe how attending prom is a highly anticipated milestone that will prepare you for the next chapter of your life?

The students who wrote the three highest vote-getting essays received first, second and third place cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100, respectively. The first-place winner was featured in a full-page photo essay, with a photographer and VFP reporter covering the big day from preparation to prom night.

All five finalists will have their prom sendoffs photographed and will receive free digital access to those photos, some of which were featured online and in the May and June print issues of the Village Free Press.

The winners were (from first- to fifth-place):

  • Dominique Wallace, Proviso East
  • Diana Guzman, Proviso West
  • Daisy Zaragoza, PMSA
  • Cynthia Suaste, PMSA
  • Joshua Bell-Bey, PMSA 

Note: Daisy Zaragoza’s photos will be featured in the June print issue of the Village Free Press, since her prom took place after the print deadline. Part II of this prom photo series will be published tomorrow, May 17.

Meaning in details 

 

Friday Socials Coming to Meal of the Day Cafe in Maywood Starting May 12

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Paintings inside of Meal of the Day Cafe in Maywood. The restaurant is launching Friday after-work socials starting May 12. | File

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

Meal of the Day Cafe, located on the fourth floor of Eisenhower Tower, 1701 S. 1st Ave., is launching a series of Friday after-work socials starting this Friday, May 12, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“This is for professionals who just want to come and hang out in an environment with great ambiance,” said the restaurant’s co-owner, Byron Diggs. “There is no specific agenda outside of total relaxation. We think that’s important.”

Diggs said that he and Anthony Williams, his business partner and the restaurant’s chef, are modeling the concept on those early 1970s places where working people could “go and just relax, listen to jazz and chat.”

“There will be complimentary beer and wine to go along with great food and conversation,” Diggs said.

Network if you want, Diggs noted, but don’t be pressured. He added that there will also be an open mic, available for anyone who wants to indulge in a poem or a song, as well as other means of recreation, including a range of games.

The price of admission is $12 a person, which can be paid at the door. The owners, however, prefer those who know they’ll be going to RSVP by May 11 by calling the cafe at (708) 223.8153. VFP

C O N S I D E R  T H I S

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At Resource Fair, Maywood Seniors Enjoy Chair Yoga

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Senior citizens participate in Chair Yoga during the April 22 Ideas for Life Senior Fair held in Maywood. Below, a senior receives a free health screening. | Michael Romain/VFP

Maywood Senior Fair_1Thursday, April 27, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

More than 100 senior citizens packed the Maywood Multipurpose Building, 200 S. 5th Ave., last Saturday for several hours of free health screenings, resource workshops, socializing and even Chair Yoga.

The April 22 event, dubbed the “Ideas for Life Senior Fair,” was organized by the Village of Maywood and Solutions for Care, an organization started in 1972 to assist senior citizens and adults living with disabilities. The fair was the first of its kind in the organization’s history.

“The purpose of this was to connect seniors in Maywood and other areas in Proviso Township with resources and have them all in one room,” said Christine Flynn, a representative with Solutions for Care.

Along with Solutions for Care, other local anchor institutions and organizations were represented at the fair, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Westlake Hospital, Oak Street Health, the West Cook YMCA and Proviso Township.

Westlake healthcare providers administered free health screenings while representatives with Proviso Township passed out literature promoting the township’s array of senior services, which include free transportation to and from medical appointments, handy man services application-writing assistance, among other services.

Representatives with the West Cook YMCA guided a roomful of at least 40 seniors in Chair Yoga exercises as David Myers, Maywood’s Assistant Village Manager, who helped coordinate the event, looked on with a smile.

“We wanted this to be an event where our seniors could get hardcore information that would be a resource to them,” Myers said. “I talked to Larry Shapiro, the Maywood Senior Club coordinator, and he thought it was a good idea.”

Connie Riales, a senior club member who helped Shapiro organize the event along with Myers and Flynn, said that most of the members of her club were in attendance.

“I think this is important because seniors still make a difference,” she said. “Without their wisdom, [the world] wouldn’t exist. We need the wisdom of our seniors.” VFP

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Inside Scoop: A Wine Club Could Be Coming to Maywood

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

A wine club could be coming to Maywood, according to Mayor Edwenna Perkins. The possibility was brought up after Maywood resident Loretta Robinson said during an April 5 regular meeting that she discovered a mailer in her mail slot advertising a wine club.

“It’s a young lady in the 1600 block of 15th who wants to start a wine club,” Robinson said.

Perkins said that the young lady, whose identity hasn’t been confirmed, recently got her idea for a wine club approved by the village’s liquor commission, which recommended that the Board of Trustees approve a license for the club.

The Board of Trustees has the final say-so on whether or not the young lady will be granted the license necessary to operate the club, which would be the village’s first, Perkins said.

“She’ll be going to different homes and selling the wine,” Perkins said. “It’s like operating a tupperware club. You know how you have a tupperware party and you demonstrate [with the product]? That’s what she’ll be doing.”

Here’s a neat description offered by Wikipedia:

“Wine clubs are designed to provide customers with a series of wine bottles on a monthly or quarterly basis that they would otherwise have to find and purchase on their own. Wine clubs often behave in a themed manner, providing recipients with red wines, white wines, or a mixture of the two. Wine clubs are most frequently offered by vineyards or specialty wine shops, but they can also be found as independent bodies.”

Wine clubs are gaining in popularity, with even Martha Stewart recently getting in on the act. Vogue Australia reported today that Stewart has launched a wine club with its own subscription purchase.

Martha Stewart, however, doesn’t live in Maywood. VFP

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A D V E R T I S E M E N T

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Photo Essay: A Prom Dress Giveaway in Maywood

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain | Photos by Sebastian Hidalgo || @maywoodnews 

Nail technician and Proviso East alum Marie Dennis, 49, stood in awe at 17-year-old Jada Harris, who attends Jones College Prep on Chicago’s South Side.

“This is my dress, y’all,” Dennis said, during an April 2 prom dress giveaway at Quinn Community Center, 1945 S. 9th Ave. in Maywood.

“She’s going to take my dress. I wore this dress to a formal event I went to a few years ago,” she said. “I’m going to cry!”

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Jada Harris, left, wearing a dress that once belonged to Marie Dennis. | Sebastian Hidalgo/VFP

This first annual prom dress giveaway was organized by Proviso East alum and local fashionista Rajeska Jackson and her Best of Proviso Township Glam Squad, which includes Proviso East, Proviso West and Proviso Math and Science Academy alum who hail from Atlanta, Phoenix, Arizona and throughout the Chicago area.

Volunteers like PMSA students Dean Watson and Justin Sykes, and community member Gloria Harrison, helped prom hopefuls like Joselyn Arce, 18, and Giselle Arce, 16 — both students at Proviso West — pick out and try on free prom pieces.

The free clothing means one less source of stress leading up to the big day, said the Arce sisters.

Jackson said that funds for the giveaway came from organizations like PINGA. Local style artists like Dennis have also offered to raffle off free nail and hair styling sessions for the girls who came to get their dresses, many of which were only slightly worn.

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“Helping youth is a passion and as long as they need help I’ll be an arm’s length away,” Jackson said during an interview a few days before the event. “We as adults keep asking the question, ‘Where are their parents?’ What we need to understand is it’s not [the children’s] fault. Our youth need us.”

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A volunteer walks into a room where Jada Harris is trying on another dress. She would eventually take multiple dresses for multiple proms. | Sebastian Hidalgo/VFP

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In all, said Jackson, around 10 girls walked away with free prom dresses. Dennis said that she’d like to see the Glam Squad grow to the level of the Glass Slipper Project, a Chicago-based initiative founded in 1999 and that has helped more than 20,000 young people make their prom dreams come to life, according to the organization’s website.

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Augustina Opara, 17, a student at Proviso West, looks at the prom dress she picked out in a mirror. | Sebastian Hidalgo/VFP

“This is different. I’m not really used to wearing poofy dresses, but I liked how this looked on me,” said Proviso West student Augustina Opara, who added that, now that she has her dress and nail appointment out of the way, she only has to worry about makeup and shoes. Her prom is May 12.

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Jackson gave special thanks to Kimyada Wellington, Daffany O’Neal, Gloria Harrison, Sonja McCoy, Kate Nolan, Randall McFarland and Sgt. Erika Luster for making the Glam Squad possible.

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And for making dreams, like those of Augustina Opara, come true. VFP

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