Originally published on the Global Communities website.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Valley (BGCMV) has been an integral part of the Floreciente community since it opened its first club in the neighborhood in 1994. Their presence has since expanded to include a Teen Center as well as administrative offices for the entire Quad Cities area. Whereas the BGCMV is highly regarded among community members for their youth programming, their Administration Building – located in the center of the neighborhood – needed to be repaved to deter people from leaving their cars unattended on the lot.
Several additional buildings, public infrastructure, and other services in Floreciente also needed improvements to make them more welcoming to residents. Neighbors, business owners, and representatives from local organizations that work in the Floreciente neighborhood began to meet monthly to identify and prioritize community needs. They also worked to identify projects that would increase community pride and participation and civic activities in Floreciente early on to draw more neighbors to their cause. Popular suggestions included undertaking beautification projects, planting flowers, addressing transportation issues, creating play areas, and celebrating together.
Blogging during this period can be found on my campaign page at
Every Chicago Public School has a Local School Council (LSC) - this information was written as a handout to be given to people who live within the boundaries of Albany Park Multicultural Academy, Hibbard Elementary, and Roosevelt High School. If you aren't sure what your school boundaries are, you can enter your address here to find out:
Monday, April 7 – Albany Park Multicultural Academy, and Hibbard Elementary
Tuesday, April 8 – Roosevelt High School
Polls open 6 am – 7 pm
What is a Local School Council (LSC)? LSCs were created to give the community oversight of our schools. Every Chicago Public School has an LSC made up of parents, community members, school teachers/staff, and in high schools, students. The LSC:
1.Approves the school budget and expenses;
2.Monitors the school’s work plan; and
3.Evaluates the principal’s performance.
I wanted to makes sure that everyone is aware of a proposal for a new Walgreens at Lawrence and Kimball. The full plans can be found here:
Although a new business is good news for the 'hood, there are issues with this. The short version is they want to tear down the existing building (the Payless) and build a new one, offset from the street, with a parking lot on the corner. Not only will this be ugly, it will increase traffic which is a safety concern on that corner.
I have been lucky enough to work with community organizers and politicians throughout the Midwest, as well as in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and South Sudan. As a result, I have helped craft and implement to a wide variety of community development initiatives from the “usual” (building roads and schools, providing health care, fostering employment opportunities for youth) to the “surreal” (addressing python infestation currently tops the list). Part of the process in developing countries is teaching people about key principles for civic education and engagement, which is something Americans all know about, but we sometimes forget. The Chicago Tribune recently asked readers to submit ideas about a plan for Chicago, and while drafting my plan to address crime and violence, I put together some ideas about civic engagement and government, and how we can re-engage in city decision-making.
Includes professional topics, as well as thoughts about politics. I also keep a blog on Medium that includes these, as well as more personal posts.