Program teaches girls creative trades

July 17, 2009 10:45:06 AM PDT
A program in Chicago's University Village community is working to keep young girls off the streets by getting them involved in projects and activities that can help later in life. They're teaching skills, including making jewelry boxes and greeting cards, and offering instruction on computers and job applications.

They are girls learning to be young ladies. And Patricia Owens will be their guide. She created a program called Newberry 13 for kids in the neighborhood of the Marcy Newberry Association at 1073 W. Maxwell.

"I had a vision that the children over here in the community needed a place to go because once they reach the age of 13 they age out of Marcy Newberry program...they are out of most programs in Chicago," said Owens.

Learning how to make useful items from discarded materials is one of the lessons being learned here.

"It's a good program, because it keeps young ladies of the street and it helps us learn different things," said Jada Anderson, program participant.

"We learn how to decorate, so instead of us having to go out and buy it we can make it ourselves," said Moesha Wade, program participant.

This is one of the raw materials the kids use in their work: a cigar box becomes a jewelry box that gets painted and decorated with macaroni.

Pedicure anyone? Well you've come to the right place.

"We learned how to do manicures and pedicures; it's real fun," said Bria Williams, program participant.

On the subject of t-shirts, there is no restraint on creativity. Colletha Gandy designed one for her grandmother.

"I think it's a wonderful program for teenagers and stuff to get off the street...it's something to do over the summer," said Colletha Gandy.

"They've learned so much here, my granddaughter brings her learning home...she's come home and set the table, she's given me a manicure and a pedicure," said Lillie Gandy, grandmother.

"Deep down inside of my soul I feel good, I know that I helped somebody...I made a difference in somebody's life...and they make a difference in my life," said Owens.

Patricia Owens, founder of the Newberry 13 program, and someone you should know. And she stays busy coming up with resources for the program.


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