Sydney Paul: January 2012 Archives

Connecting to the Community and Beyond MLK Day

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by Sydney Paul, AB '12

On January 12th, UChicago hosted Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, who spoke at the University's annual MLK Commemoration Celebration. Canada passionately advocated for high expectations that all children should attend college, regardless of race, financial circumstances, or place of residence. His work in Harlem, NY has inspired the creation of Promise Communities across the nation, including the Woodlawn Children's Promise Community (WCPC), which counts the University as a close partner.

Many students are answering the call, and Woodlawn has been a particularly active neighborhood when it comes to University collaboration. The success of projects like WCPC cannot be accomplished without the work of volunteers.

We sat down with just two of many student organizations creating collaborations in the Woodlawn neighborhood:

IMG_0611.JPGAs a child, Caesarei Marsh was very independent - in ways not always to his own benefit. At nine years old, he was already roaming the streets of the South Side and abusing drugs. He's been through a lifetime and a half of tragic events - being shot, time in prison, you name it.

This however is not the end of his story. Though he took a tumultuous path, his individuality also gave him the ability to become a powerful vehicle for change in his community later on in life. Caesarei now works as a case manager at Inspiration Corporation's Living Room Café at 64th and Cottage Grove - the same place that helped him get off the streets. [The Living Room Café was founded in 1995 by SSA Alum Jennifer Kihm (AM '94).]