Tag: Rajeska Jackson

‘This Is A Community Crisis’

Sunday, April 7, 2019 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Rajeska Jackson (pictured with microphone) addresses students and community members during a meeting on April 7 at Proviso East that was designed to brainstorm ways of preventing another student’s suicide.

Residents in and around Proviso Township are grappling for solutions after yet another 15-year-old Proviso East student from Maywood died by suicide — the third 15-year-old East student from Maywood to die by suicide in less than six months.

Continue reading “‘This Is A Community Crisis’”

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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Group to Give Away Free Prom Dresses, Suits, Hair Styles This Sunday

Prom Austin Weekly news

Kandyn Hatley, 18, gets glammed up before going to prom last year in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. This Sunday, the Proviso Township Glam Squad is giving away free prom dresses, suits, hair cuts, hair-styling sessions and nail tech sessions. Below, one of the prom dresses that the Glam Squad has given away already. | William Camargo/Wednesday Journal | Proviso Township Glam Squad/Facebook

Prom DressWednesday, March 29, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

A local group of Proviso Township High Schools alumnae is giving away free prom dresses and suits this Sunday, April 2, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Quinn Community Center, 1945 S. 9th Ave., Room 110, in Maywood.

The Best of Proviso Township Glam Squad, organized by Proviso East alum Rajeska Jackson, is looking to giveaway around 100 dresses and even a few suits for students to don during their big day. They’ll also provide hair-styling, hair cuts and nail technician services provided by local beauty experts.

Nail technician Marie Dennis, a Proviso East alum who lives in Berwyn, said that she was drawn to the cause because memories of her own high school proms.

“I know what it feels like to want and not have,” said Dennis, 49. “Peer pressure is at an all-time high and sometimes when you don’t have what others have you feel some type of way. I wanted to give students something they wanted without worrying about paying for it.”

Dennis said that Jackson’s passion, not only for this project but for the high schools generally, also influenced on her decision to help out.

“Rajeska is involved in a lot of things regarding the high schools, she’s really passionate about our schools,” Dennis said.

In order to receive the free dresses, suits and beauty services, students must be currently enrolled juniors or seniors. They must present a valid school ID or some other proof of enrollment.

In a recent interview, however, Jackson expanded the requirements, adding that “this event is not just for Proviso Township and it’s for any young lady or young man in need. You can also bring your 8th grade graduates as well.”

Jackson said the Glam Squad was the result of a vision she’s had for a long time that is finally bearing fruit.

“Helping youth is a passion and as long as they need help I’ll be an arm’s length away,” she said. “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.”

Jackson said that her group of fellow Proviso East, Proviso West and Proviso Math and Science Academy alum — who hail from Atlanta, Phoenix, Arizona and throughout the Chicago area — have adopted several students from Proviso Township High Schools. The Glam Squad, she said, is one aspect of that larger outreach.

“I pray that this beyond our vision,” she said, before thanking Dennis. “When Marie came aboard, there was no stopping her. When she reached out, people spoke and they gave.”

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.

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.

See the flyer below for more details about the event. You can also click here, call Rajeska Jackson at (708) 397-6604, Marie Dennis at (708) 299-3861 or email ouryouth2016@gmail.com. VFP

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