Ms. Ora is neighborhood ‘mom’ and cook. She has lived more than 40 years on the block, right across the Peace House. She used to think of moving away because she was constantly living in fear of constant break-ins. Now, she hosts Sunday dinners for the guys who used to steal from her. She is a pillar of restorative justice, forgiveness, and community building. She is also the Peace House’s notary so that she could notarize homeless verification letter.
Ms. Gwen has lived in the Englewood neighborhood for more than 40 years. She has been like a mother to the entire block. During the warmer months, her front porch is decorated with beautiful flowers in an effort to bring life and beauty amidst some of the vacant lots. She’s an emblem of strength and integrity. Despite the challenges that the community faces, she has shown the younger generations what it means to stand up and be a positive influence in the community.
Ms Johnson has lived in Englewood for 48 years. As part of Wisdom Council, she is a patient guiding hand, determined to understand the root reason for every action that everybody takes. “I’m praying that one day, young men and young women get their heads together, get their hearts together, to bring Englewood to what it used to be. I want them to put the guns down, keep the streets clean, and to have more pride in our neighborhood. Stop finding fault and pointing fingers, love your sisters and your brothers.”
Ms Marie has lived in our community for 25 years. She got involved in Wisdom Council to make the community better and to stop the violence. She has seen many of the young men and young women on the block grow up since they were babies. “We have to stay focused, and keep the young people over there focused because they get out of line sometimes” She is at Chair Yoga every single Monday, one of her favorite parts of I Grow, which she thinks of as a second home.
Mama Pearl has one daughter and three grandchildren, but she is a grandmother to every other child that lives on her block. She moved to Englewood when she was in the ninth grade and has lived here for 48 years. She is a community driver, a cook, an elder on our Wisdom Council, and a member of Women’s Group. She gardens, decorates the Peace House, and helps out with the literacy program during Summer of Hope. Although Mama Pearl only joined I Grow Chicago one year ago, she knows everybody who lives on the block, watching the kids grow up, and is a beautiful member of our community.