Tag: Maywood Youth Mentoring

Maywood Youths Create Quilts for Non-Violence

Friday, December 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Jemena Johnson and her brother hold up their anti-violence illustrations during a quilt-making project on Dec. 2 in Maywood. | Michael Romain /VFP 

Jemena Johnson, 7, has a novel concept, which she painted out on a poster as part of a collaborative arts project initiated by local community groups.

Continue reading “Maywood Youths Create Quilts for Non-Violence”

Loyola Students Help Cultivate Hardy Maywood Peace Garden

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The Maywood Peace Garden received some special attention from Loyola medical students on Saturday. | Sebastian Hidalgo/VFP

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Olga Desio, a volunteer master gardener with the University of Illinois Extension program, stood in the middle of the Peace Garden at the corner of 17th Ave. and Madison St. on Saturday, surrounded by hardy native plants and engulfed in the scent of herbs—sage, oregano, lavender, thyme.

Continue reading “Loyola Students Help Cultivate Hardy Maywood Peace Garden”

Volunteers Spruce Up Maywood’s 17th Ave. Peace Garden

Maywood garden firefighters

Maywood firefighters water the 17th & Madison Peace Garden in Maywood on Saturday. | Photos provided 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

On Saturday, June 3, volunteers worked to spruce up the 17th & Madison Peace Garden in Maywood. The garden, the brainchild of Maywood Youth Mentoring founder and executive director Barbara Cole, said that she and her MYM participants planted flowers, pulled weeds, picked up trash, spread soil and mulch and painted cinder blocks, among other green tasks.

“We had a very productive day,” Cole said in a statement.  “Mother Nature cooperated with us up to 3 p.m. by not raining, but disappointed us by not producing thunderstorms after 3 p.m.!”

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Fortunately, Cole said, the Maywood Fire Department provided water and filled out the garden’s water barrels. A sudden emergency, however, called them away from the garden before the barrels were filled.

“They returned Sunday morning to complete the task,” Cole said. “We just ask the community to pray for non-severe thunderstorms throughout the week so that our new plants don’t die from thirst. Otherwise, the public is welcome to stop by the garden and dip some water from the barrels to give to our thirsty plants!”

Cole said that Tim Lucas and Alex Sanchez from Home Depot donated and delivered supplies. Proviso Partners for Health donated compost bins, the University of Illinois Extension Master Garden Program provided expertise, garden supplies and volunteers and the Maywood Environmental and Beautification Commission donated labor and supplies.

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Another phase of additional planting and sprucing up the garden will take place on June 24, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more info, call (708) 344-3577 or email barbaracole@maywoodyouthmentoring.org. VFP

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Op-Ed: Maywood Youth Summit Poor in Attendance, but Rich in Solutions

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Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley, left, and Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin listen to a young person share her opinions at a recent youth summit in Maywood. | Courtesy Barbara Cole

Op-EdSunday, August 7, 2016 || By Barbara Cole || OPINION 

Youth Takeover Maywood  was convened by Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin at Maywood Park District on Aug. 6. Despite the low youth turnout, the parents and concerned citizens in the room offered some compelling testimony.

Unfortunately, only a handful of policymakers from the entities listed as sponsors on the event flyer attended. The following is a list of 10 issues and solutions that came out of the meeting:

Black History Month Begins In January For Maywood Youth; Local Mentoring Nonprofit Wins Statewide Recognition

Mentoring pics

Youth with Maywood Youth Mentoring (MYM) show a pull-out of key events and people in African history during a recent post-Kwanzaa, pre-Black History Month breakfast hosted by MYM. Author Mary Morris, below, presents ideas and concepts from her body of educational work at the breakfast. || Nicholas Samuel

Mary MorrisTuesday, January 12, 2016 || By Nicholas Samuel 

“Our history is like the relationship between a mother and a child. We love our mothers. Africa is our mother and the birthplace of all humanity,” said Mary Morris, educator, author and Maywood youth mentor, at a youth breakfast held Jan. 9 at the Maywood Multipurpose Building, 200 S. 5th Ave.

The breakfasts are held each month and hosted by the Maywood-based nonprofit Maywood Youth Mentoring (MYM). This month’s breakfast took the theme of a post-Kwanzaa, pre-Black History Month event.

Morris, who wrote the book “Young Lions: Challenged to Live Free” in 2011, recently published a 2016 ancient African calendar. At the Saturday breakfast she presented the ideas and concepts in her body of work to about 50 area residents.

“How many of you have heard that we were once kings and queens in Africa? You come from the greatest culture in the history of the world,” Morris said to the gathering, many of whom were young people who are part of MYM. 

“It’s important for youth to know who they are, who their ancestors are, to respect their ancestors and respect themselves,” Morris said.

She listed numerous key dates and events in African history that she believes are often overlooked in most classrooms, such as the presence in Africa of grand libraries and innovations in math, science, medicine and literature.

“Our children deserve to know they are the descendants of great artists, engineers and grand master builders,” Morris said.

Morris’s Egyptian calendar illuminates the art and notable achievements of Africans, including statues of kings, queens, scribes, architects and philosophers. The Africans also built temples that are more than 6,000 thousand years old, she pointed out.

“Some of those temples are still there. It’s amazing how all of this has stood the test of time,” said Morris, who has visited the continent several times. “Nobody can take this art away from us. This is our culture.”

The statue of Horemakhet, better known as the Great Sphinx, starts off the calendar for the month of January.

Horemakhet, which has the body of a lion and the face of an African man, is the oldest sculpture in the world, according to Morris. It’s estimated to be 12,000 years old, she said.

“They don’t speak on ancient African history in school and never will. That’s deep, real deep,” said 21-year-old attendee and MYM member Darrion Orr.

Barbara Cole, MYM’s founder and CEO, said African Americans don’t hear enough about their own history in school and only learn about black history during Black History Month.

“There’s a state standard for [teachers] to learn it and put it in their lesson plan. They’re using our tax dollars to teach our children,” Cole said. “The first person on the planet came from Africa. African American history is American history, so everybody should know it.”

Gina Harris, an MYM mentor and District 89 teacher, said it’s important that mentors continue to have conversations with black youth about ancient Africa.

“If they don’t recognize they have a rich history and great civilizations were created where they came from, students can make unfortunate choices,” Harris said. “We need students to see who they really are.”

For more information on purchasing “Young Lions: Challenged to Live Free,” $10, or the 2016 Ancient African calendar, $10, contact Mary Morris at msmary.culture@gmail.com or contact her through her here.

Maywood Youth Mentoring Wins 2016 IMPACT Award for Group Mentoring Program

Maywood Youth Mentoring was recently announced the winner of the 2016 IMPACT Award for a group youth mentoring program. The award is given out by the Illinois Mentoring Partnership (IMP), a nonprofit “dedicated to  expanding the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships for children and youth in Illinois,” according to its website.

The Maywood nonprofit will be presented the award at a Jan. 22 breakfast. January is National Mentoring Month and statewide recognition breakfast is the first of its kind “to hoonor companies, organizations, and key individuals who are making a difference through mentoring,” according to IMP. VFP

Saturday, Sept. 5 Should Be FREE Food Day in Maywood — Two Inspiring Events Make The Case

Thursday, September 3, 2015 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR || Updated: 9/4/15 || 10:37 PM

This Saturday, Sept. 5, in Maywood might as well be designated FREE Food Day in Maywood. Two morning events in the village feature FREE food and priceless inspiration.

Sat. September 5 || 9 AM to 11 AM || Maywood Youth Mentoring FREE Breakfast || Maywood Multipurpose Building, 200 S. 5th Ave. 

Sunshine GillsThis monthly event, which takes place on the first Saturday of each month, features a FREE hot breakfast and a platter of enlightenment from a guest speaker. This month’s speaker will be Sunshine Gills (pictured left), a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and a student, and track and field athlete, at Aurora University. Gills, a graduate of Proviso East High School, will speak on a theme: “Achieving academic and personal success.” There will also be a raffle, replete with McDonald’s gift cards.

This event is sponsored by Maywood Youth Mentoring, Inc. (MYM). For more information, contact Barbara Cole: (708) 344-3577, or barbaracole@maywoodyouthmentoring. You can also visit MYM’s website here.

Sat. September 5 || 10 AM to 2 PM || FREE Food From Jesus || Quinn Community Center, 1851 S. 9th Ave. 

Free Food from Jesus

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. (Matthew 25:25)

When you’re done with Maywood Youth Mentoring’s free breakfast, head over to the Quinn Center to pickup a bundle of free groceries.

Hands of Hope Illinois and Impact Ministries will be handing out FREE FOOD in the south parking lot of the Quinn Community Center. Please join us for a day of seeking God’s kingdom first and his righteousness. This event is for EVERYONE. Tell your friends. Invite your neighbors. Simply drive your car up and receive this blessing. Click the image above or here to RSVP on Facebook; otherwise, come as you are and receive from your car! VFP

Snapshots from Village Pride-Village Wide — The Garden That Barbara’s Boys Built


Cole with Latrell Townes, left, and Darius Whitfield, right. Photo by Michael Romain. 

imageSunday, April 19, 2015 || By Michael Romain

Yesterday, Saturday, April 18, was the first annual Village Pride-Village Wide Day. This is the first snapshot of several that will be published about the inaugural event.

MAYWOOD — Ezell Townes, 11, was a little boy when he helped plot the small garden at the corner of 17th and Madison as part of Maywood Youth Mentoring, the local nonprofit founded by youth advocate Barbara Cole.

On Saturday, Townes and three other MYM mentees were out doing a little sprucing up during Village Pride-Village Wide day.

They were just one of many dedicated bands of volunteers that were deployed throughout the village’s roughly three square miles in an intensive three hours of spring cleaning.

The volunteers gathered at ReUse Depot, 50 Madison, at around 9 AM and spread out from there. Local churches, such as Church of Christ, helped provide transportation to the volunteers.

Barbara Cole and her group of planters-in-training were picking up trash and putting down tulips at their dedicated corner. Ezell and his older brother, Latrell, 13, got busy raking up and hauling weeds and other yard clippings into industrial trash bags.

Darius Whitfield, 12, was steadfastly focused on mound of thick brush, carefully working his way around a sturdy plant that seemed a fixture of the corner plot.

“We like doing this,” said Whitfield, who along with the Townes brothers attends Irving Elementary around the corner.

Marcus Featherston, 16, looked on, giving direction and lending extra muscle when needed.

Cole said the materials for the plot were mostly donated from businesses such as Home Depot. She said the garden was installed about four years ago.

She said she and her youth attend to the plot, which features a colorful mural and painted trash cans, at least once a year. This year, they weren’t alone in their beautification efforts.

“I figured if the whole village was involved all at once, if we had a day where everybody got out, then you could see a significance difference in the village,” said Loretta Brown, one of the planners of the village-wide effort. VFP

To see and/or submit photos of yesterday’s cleanup event, visit Neighbors of Maywood Community Organization’s (NOMCO’s) Facebook page here