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04-10-11, 04:19 PM #1
Grandmother trying to get Chicago kids off the streetsBut one grandmother opened her door and invited gang members to come inside.
"They say I'm a nut because I let kids into my home who I didn't even know," said Diane Latiker, 54. "But I know (the kids) now. And I'll know the new generation."
Since 2003, Latiker has gotten to know more than 1,500 young people through her nonprofit community program, Kids Off the Block. And she hopes that by providing them with support and a place to go, she is also bringing hope to a community in crisis.
"We are losing a generation to violence," said Latiker, who started the program in her living room.
According to Chicago Public Schools, 140 of its students have been shot since the school year started in September.
Latiker told them her house was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They could come over for food, or homework help, or just to talk about their hopes, dreams and fears. Kids Off the Block was born.
"It doesn't matter where they come from, what they've done," Latiker said. "We've had six gangs in my living room at one time. ... But that was the safe place. And you know what? They respected that."
As Latiker began to see positive change in many of the kids, she quit her job as a cosmetologist to focus on them full-time. She set up tutoring sessions with teachers and retired educators. She provided job interview training and opportunities to play football, basketball and soccer. Latiker and volunteers also started taking the kids on field trips to museums, movies, skating rinks, water parks and professional sports games.
04-10-11, 06:05 PM #2
Just think. She has accomplished more then one "community organizer" ever has. All by herself without the government.'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly
promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
holds forth the proposition that it is entirely
possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!'
“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” Sigmund Freud
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