In the third largest U.S. city, there is a great demand for economic empowerment, community building, and wealth creation for the urban inner-city. There is critical need to expand our focus on creating better education options, jobs, housing, training and recreation, to name a few. We face growing concerns about the community daily. Shootings are recorded on the news every night, job loss plagues the nation, all time low educational scores abound and safe places for kids to be kids are few.
LET’S BREAK IT DOWN…
The economy has been a hot topic in the USA lately as it has been declining at a rapid rate. As the leading country in the world, this is alarming. To go with it, jobs have been lost, houses have been foreclosed upon and incomes have been slashed. Chicago has also been ranked the #1 worst place to have a business. Without local grassroots intervention, the problem is only going to worsen, if you can imagine that.
In addition, between The Loop and 159th Street (25 miles) there is not a single sit-down restaurant off of the highway. There are very few retail centers, medical centers or banks, creating a very difficult environment for thriving lives. Considering there are 250,000 cars going North/South daily and 35,000 going East/West past 87th and the highway, there is great potential for a thriving economy on Chicago’s South side.
Since 1971, education spending in the United States has doubled from $4,300 per student to more than $9,000 per student. Yet the reading and math scores have not gone up a smidgen. Our education system is in turmoil and our students are being shorted.
In America right now, a kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. These drop-outs are 8 times more likely to go to prison, 50% less likely to vote, more likely to need social welfare assistance, not eligible for 90% of jobs, are being paid 40 cents to the dollar of earned by a college graduate, and continuing the cycle of poverty.” – Waiting For Superman
In Auburn Gresham and the surrounding areas, nearly 50% of students are not graduating from high school, and less than 5% of graduates are going on to college. On top of that, Illinois is a state that associates crime with reading failure. The state bases how many new prison cells to build each year based off the 4th grade reading failure rate. Sadly, in 2010, 40% of 4th graders did not meet state reading standards in Chicago, causing the state to build 35,589 new prison cells. It is at no fault to the kids that our education system is failing them, but something must change.
When people get sick, there are limited options for them in Auburn-Gresham or the surrounding areas. There are very few healthcare clinics and the ones that exist are bursting at the seams.
There are few healthy restaurant options in the area as well, causing unhealthy diets and lifestyles. This adds to the already epidemic problem of diabetes and obesity in our surrounding neighborhoods.
ARTS + CULTURE
We see arts and culture as a necessary component to cultivate the minds of our youth. However, there are very few outlets for artistic release and creativity for our youth and adults in Auburn-Gresham and the surrounding areas.
Programs for youth are vital to creating a well-rounded adult, giving them artistic release, developing creativity and opening up opportunities that may have not otherwise been available.
The lack of programs for our youth is forcing them to have fewer things to do during after-school hours, the most dangerous time of day for homicides in Chicago.