John Christopher was offering up his lots in North Lawndale as a cheaper alternative. John Christopher was asking for as little as $10 a load—a figure he later admitted to in court. Alternative Schools Network: Auburn Gresham, Englewood, Near West Side, North Lawndale, Roseland, Washington Heights, West Englewood: Austin Childcare Providers Network: Austin: Austin Peoples Action Center: Austin, West Garfield Park: Bobby E Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center: Chicago Family Partnership: Chicago Westside NAACP.
NORTH LAWNDALE — After a glowing introduction from a success-story student at the North Lawndale alternative school he helped start, an emotional Earvin 'Magic' Johnson broke down in tears Wednesday and had to compose himself.
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'God is so good. He has been so good to me,' Johnson repeatedly said after Haman Cross IV's introduction.
'If I did not know Haman I would have never thought he was in high school by the way he carries himself and speaks. Listening to him lets me know more of these schools are needed.'
The NBA Hall of Famer visited the North Lawndale campus of Magic Johnson Bridgescape, 3222 W. Roosevelt Road, on Wednesday to promote what he described as 'schools designed to help urban youths.'
By the end of the year, Johnson said 30 Magic Johnson Bridgescape academies will be up and running throughout the country.
Students who attend Bridgescape split their school day between traditional classes and classes they take online while at school. That school day is then coupled with service work and internship opportunities, according to Carol Washington, a program director for Bridgescape.
Another Chicago campus is set to open Nov. 4 at 10928 S. Halsted St. in Roseland. That location was chosen after Bridgescape unsuccessfully tried to open a campus in South Shore at 7037 S. Stony Island Ave., which is located near a day care and was opposed by Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th).
Johnson said he did not take the opposition by Hairston personally.
'That's politics. You win some and you lose some. I respect the local alderman's decision not to support our school at that location, but who is really hurt by that?' Johnson said. 'The only people hurt when a school cannot open is our kids.'
The five-time NBA champion said all of his businesses are located in black and Hispanic communities.
'I have to put my people to work. My purpose for opening these schools are to help youths in black and brown communities who want to learn,' Johnson said. 'This is not a pilot program, either. Our schools offer hope for youths who may have experienced hard times and need a helping hand to get back in school and back on track.'
He said when kids are not in school it contributes to crime, which he said could explain why Chicago has experienced so much youth violence.
Crestwood dating classifieds personals. 'If a kid is not in school, chances are they're gong to turn to violence and end up dead or in prison,' said Johnson.
Joining Johnson to show support for building more alternative high schools were Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago-born rapper and actor Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., better known as 'Common.'
'When I was a shorty, I watched Magic play ball and looked up to him because everything he did I admired,' recalled Common. 'There are too many youths out here involved in violence, and I share Magic's desire to do something about it.'
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And Quinn said as a resident of the West Side himself, he knows how important it is for kids to have a second chance in life.
'It means a lot to have someone like Magic Johnson make this important investment in the students of Illinois,' Quinn said. 'Adults get second chances when they make mistakes in life, and our youths should get a second chance when they mess up in school.'
In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived six months in North Lawndale as a symbolic gesture of his work, highlighting the economic plight of the poor. By that time, a series of economic and social distresses, including Sears’ (then the largest retailer in the world) move out of North Lawndale, had drastically shifted the neighborhood from its once vibrant state. By 1970, 75% of the businesses in North Lawndale left or closed. This economic and social exodus left North Lawndale to experience a loss of almost half of its housing units and population. Today, 39% of North Lawndale’s families are below the poverty level, 30% do not have a high school diploma, and 19% are unemployed. The per capita income is just over $12,500. Despite these hardships, the spirit and commitment of residents in North Lawndale, including the 26% under age 15 as of 2010, make the neighborhood ripe for impact.
Since last school year, Get IN Chicago has increased our support in North Lawndale to include parent engagement programs with Family Focus and Westcare, wraparound trauma and CBT services with Hektoen Institute, intensive mentoring and advocacy with Lawndale Christian Legal Center, and coding and technology trainings with Smart Chicago. This fall, UCAN, Alternative Schools Network, and Youth Advocate Program will start mentoring programs in the neighborhood, and Youth Guidance will scale up its CBT programming.
Altogether, these new investments add up to more than half a million dollars of impact for youth and parents in the North Lawndale community. We look forward to sharing more about organizations we will support in North Lawndale in the coming weeks as we announce new grant awards!
In the meantime, check out news about these other great initiatives happening in North Lawndale:
Inner City Teen Farmers See Hard Work Bearing Fruit: Nestled in between the Central Park “L” station and busy West Ogden Avenue, a site that was once home to an abandoned laundromat is now giving local teens the opportunity to grow.
North Lawndale Residents Encouraged by Heightened Police Presence: Most of us have heard of “community policing,” the strategy of having more interaction between police officers and the people living and working in the neighborhoods they patrol. This weekend, CBS 2 got an up close look at how that strategy is working on a block in North Lawndale.
North Lawndale High School to help pay out-of-pocket college costs: A couple thousand dollars may not seem like much. But for many poor North Lawndale students, it might as well be a million. One school is vowing to pay the difference with the help of local philanthropists.