By: The Gate Newspaper
Primary grade students at Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academy smiled as each received a new book to add to their personal libraries on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Part of a digital literacy initiative, the Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation offered Chavez students and thousands of other Chicago Public School students book donations.
But as schools like Chavez continue to promote and put in place literacy initiatives, such as setting reading goals or spending an additional 90 minutes in school every day as part of the Additional Learning Opportunities program, the accessibility of literary resources outside of school remains scarce in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.
Currently, local elementary schools are struggling to bring the CPS average in reading to an adequate level. Of the seven elementary schools in the area, all are either below or barely meeting state standards in reading.
These are alarming figures as the National Task Force on Early Education for Hispanics reports that Latino children entering kindergarten are significantly behind White children in early literacy skills. By fifth grade they continue to lag behind in important reading comprehension skills.
While the overall numbers are low all across the board, the Back of Yards Library, a vital resource for students and residents, recently closed its doors.
“The quality of life there wasn’t very good,” wrote Claudia Rodriguez, 12th Ward Legislative/Media Relations person for Alderman George Cardenas in an e-mail to THE GATE. “There was often flooding going on and the smell of the sewer would go into the library. It wasn’t a pleasant situation for both the library and the residents.”
Norma P. Manzo, computer class instructor at the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council has been hearing complaints from a number of her students who struggle to access information now that the library is closed.
“Parents have complained about their children not accessing the necessary books or Internet sources to complete their homework assignments,” she said. “It’s affecting both children and adults.”
According to Rodriguez, there is no definite date as to when and if the library will open. She stated however, that Alderman Cardenas is currently in the process of searching for a new location where a new building can be built for the Back of the Yards community branch.
In the meantime, Manzo refers her students to the nearest library, Canaryville Library located on 642 W. 43rd St., to access books and resources—a five minute commute for those who own a car, but a 20 minute commute for those who take public transportation.
“Residents need a library in their own neighborhood,” said Manzo. “If the library doesn’t open, where are they supposed to go?”
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White honored Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC) President & CEO Craig Chico with the Humanitarian Service Award; the award recognized Chico for his dedication and many contributions to the Back of the Yards community. Having many years of community service experience, Chico has been enhancing the Back of the Yards neighborhood as BYNC President since 2008, integrating many programs for the residents, organizations and businesses in the area. Some of the highlights Jesse White mentioned were Chico’s collaboration and advocacy to provide social services such as a free senior shuttle bus, CEDA, computer literacy training and a cultural dance program.
The 2011 Illinois Secretary of State’s National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration was held on the concourse level of the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. The theme of the event was “People Helping People.”
The hosts of the event were NBC 5 Zoraida Sambolin and Dan Ponce of WGN-TV. Special guests included Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon.
Eight other honored guests, representing six other agencies, were also selected to receive the Humanitarian Service Award. Arturo Velasquez took the highest honor, as he was awarded with the Illinois Secretary of State Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Back of the Yards Ballet Folklorico is getting ready to perform at many locations in Chicago to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of Hispanic culture and is recognized in Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States. In the U.S., Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15th and ends October 1st.
The Back of the Yards Ballet Folklorico Calendar of Events:
• September 30, 2011-The Hyatt Regency for the Hispanic Heritage Organization Awards
• October 1, 2011-The 1st Annual Block Party, hosted by Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC )and the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC), located at 4249 S. Archer from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
• October 5, 2011-A Hispanic-American Heritage Month celebration at Hines Valley Hospital, hosted by Anita Alvarez, at the Auditorium Building from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
• October 6, 2011- The National Museum of Mexican Art, located at 1852 W. 19th Street at 6:00 p.m.
• October 15, 2011- Casa Guanajuato
• October 29, 2011- UNO’s 4th annual 5K, Race of the Dead event held in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. The Ballet Folklorico group will perform at 7:50 a.m. and the race will begin at 8:00 a.m.
For more information or to book the Ballet Folklorico, call Patricia Flores at (773) 523-4416 or e-mail email@example.com.
Over 80 members of the Back of the Yards community met at Davis Square Park on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 to discuss ways to improve the community. The discussions were focused on three important topics, including Youth & Education, Economic Development & Housing and Identity & Safety. The meeting began with an introduction by Craig Chico, President & CEO of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council. Chico recognized LISC Senior Program Officer Marva Williams, 12th Ward Chief of Staff Juan Manzano and 9th District Police Commander David M. Jarmusz.
Guests were presented with a community profile and map of the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Afterwards, groups of 20 participants were assigned with one Teska moderator; each group brainstormed ideas pertaining to each topic and wrote them on a large poster. Groups rotated throughout the night in order to objectively identify problems and find solutions to better the community. Discussions included the closing of the Back of the Yards library, located in the Yards Plaza, employment opportunities, improving streetscapes and providing educational & vocational learning programs for parents and children. At the end of the night, groups presented their ideas and findings to effectively plan out the next steps to improve the Back of the Yards neighborhood.
The Quality-of-Life Plan for the Back of the Yards is the first initiative set up for residents and businesses to join forces and to help build a safer and economically-stable community. Participating organizations that help make the Plan possible are the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC), Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Teska & Associates Inc., the Chicago Police Department and other community organizations.
Upcoming meetings and news will be posted on the BYNC Web site (bync.org).
The City Council’s Latino Caucus will hold its south side community hearing to receive public input and educate the community on the 2011 ward redistricting process. At the hearings, the Latino Caucus will provide the public with census data and general information on redistricting.
The south side hearing will take place at Major Hector P. Garcia M.D. Charter High School – UNO Veterans Memorial Campus, located at 4248 W 47th Street on
September 30, 2011 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
“I invite residents to be part of the redistricting process so that together we can form equal and representative wards for all Chicagoan’s especially for Latinos. Latinos have been a growing population in the city and that growth needs to be represented,” expressed Alderman Cardenas.
At the same time that Chicago’s overall population decreased, Chicago’s Latino population increased by more than 25,000 making Latinos equal to 29% of the city’s population.
The members of the Latino Caucus include: George Cardenas (12th Ward), Ald. Joe Moreno (1st Ward), Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd Ward), Ald. Roberto Maldonado
(26th Ward), Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th Ward), Ald. Ray Suarez (31st Ward), Ald. Rey Colon (35th Ward) and Chairman Danny Solis (25th Ward).
Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the 12th Ward Public Service Office at 773-523-8250 or visit us at 2458 W 38th St. For further updates visit our website at www.12thwardnews.com.
The 4th Annual Stockyard “Stamp-Eat!” took place on Thursday, September 15, 2011. The event, which was held just steps away from the historic Union Stockyard Gate, created an opportunity for Stockyards businesses to network with each other and to meet Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council staff and local elected officials.
Over seventy-five people attended the event. Attendees enjoyed steaks donated by Allen Brothers and cold drinks. Curator Tom Pierce set up a traveling Stockyards exhibit that contained many historical photographs and artifacts for guests to view.
The BYNC would like to extend a special thanks to Allen Brothers, Commissioner John P. Daley, 11th Ward Alderman James A. Balcer and 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell.
From left: SSA #13 Program Director Mike McMullin, Commissioner John P. Daley, BYNC President & CEO Craig Chico, Alderman James A. Balcer. The SSA #13 banner, which is installed on every other light pole surrounding the Stockyards, was designed by Patricia Flores of the BYNC.
SSA #13 Banner Designer Patricia Flores and Program Director Mike McMullin
MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
From job creation to greening the community to better transportation, education, and human services, we need to work together to improve the neighborhood. The Plan will set out strategies that build on our historic neighborhood and create a safer, economically vibrant, and culturally-rich community.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
5:30 to 7:30 pm
Davis Square Park
4430 S. Marshield Avenue
For more information, contact Irene Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (773) 523-4416 ext. 116.
By: The Gate Newspaper
It was a day of remembrance, as the first annual “United We Run, Healthy We Stand” 5K run commenced on Sunday, Sept. 11 with an opening ceremony dedicated to the lives lost in the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers 10 years ago.
Gathered at the Firemen’s Memorial in the Stockyards, the Local #2 Firefighter’s Unit, along with Father Bruce Wellems of Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, 11th Ward Alderman James Balcer and other members of the community, said a few words remembering the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
After the ceremony the runners took off, running through a course that took them through the industrial park. Adam Murphy crossed the finish line first, followed by runner-up Fernando Patino.
By: Christine Geovanis, MKC Communications
Back of the Yards has always been home to dozens of block clubs, church-based organizations and neighborhood groups – but the community has never developed a neighborhood-wide, grassroots-grown plan for its future.
That’s about to change, as local civic projects gear up for a September 21st public meeting on strategies to revitalize the neighborhood – with the goal of bringing groups and residents together from across the community to participate. Partners include the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC), Teska & Associates, Inc., LISC/Chicago (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), the Chicago Police Department, churches and community organizations.
The grassroots, collaborative effort is designed to create a quality-of-life plan for Back of the Yards, modeled on LISC’s pioneering New Communities Program, which has helped neighborhoods across the country tackle problems and create practical, long-term programs to improve life for residents. The ground-up approach is designed to give all participants a voice in shaping community goals and visions.
“Neighborhood residents and groups can make a real difference in their community’s well-being — if they’re provided with good planning tools,” says LISC/Chicago Executive Director Susana Vasquez. “Planning efforts need to be accompanied by long-term investment across a range of issues, from schools and housing to health and jobs – all of which must improve together. These are key lessons we’ve learned through the New Communities Program.”
Community revitalization goals could include ways to tackle issues around vacant land, cut the foreclosure rate, support job growth and resources for families, and create opportunities for young people to pursue positive activities – all within a framework that empowers residents who want to improve the community and attract opportunities for investment.
“We know from examples in other neighborhoods that when all of the organizations come together, overcome turf, and work in a collaborative way, more resources come to that area,” says BYNC project coordinator Irene Lopez. “If we work together as neighbors and grassroots groups, we can create a quality-of-life plan that can make a real difference in our community in the coming months and years.”
More than 42,000 residents live in Back of the Yards, and another 136,000 residents live within a 7-minute drive time trade area – a powerful potential economic base for Back of the Yards’ many small businesses. Over $52 million of local spending power leaves the neighborhood – dollars that could be kept in the neighborhood with more support for local small businesses, creating jobs and growing the local revenue stream.
While the community has struggled with poverty and gang violence in recent years, the neighborhood also has many positive strengths – from a strong sense of community to the energy and vitality of local young people.
“Cooperative planning empowers residents and sharpens the effectiveness of grassroots work,” says Marva Williams of LISC/Chicago. “But local participation is critical, so we’re urging residents to bring their concerns, hopes and ideas to the public meeting.”
The first public meeting of the Back of the Yards Quality-of-Life planning process will be on September 21 at 5:30 p.m. at Davis Square Park Field House, 4430 S. Marshfield Avenue. The meeting will give local residents from across Back of the Yards a chance to brainstorm ways to create jobs, attract more resources, tackle local problems and build on the community’s many strengths.
Enroll today to the GED Classes!
GED Test gives individual an opportunity to earn a High School Equivalency Certificate. The GED Program covers subjects such as Language Arts-Writing and Reading, Social Studies, Science, and Mathematics in preparation to the exam. Classes start on September 23, 2011 at the BYNC office located at 1751 W. 47th Street, Monday through Thursday at 9:00 a.m. through 12:00 p.m. for 5 months until February 23, 2012.
Classes are free of cost and in Spanish.
For more information, please contact Salvador Cisneros at email@example.com or call (773) 523-4416 ext. 117.