Chicago native Drew Sidora has been making a name for herself on the big screen and behind the scenes. Just recently, she portrayed Tionne "TBoz" Watkins in the VH-1 movie Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story -the highest rated program in the networks history. And while Drew is very proud of the accolades she has received, she is exceptionally grateful for the DreamMakers' Foundation, a not for profit organization she founded to help young girls empower themselves.
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While former school teacher Enneressa Davis enjoyed teaching students, her passion has always been engaging children through dance. So when the opportunity presented itself, she took a leap of faith and walked away from the classroom to start Praize Productions, a 501c-3 organization that promotes education through art. To this day, the program is offered in a few afterschool programs across the city and at the resident studio at St. Margaret's of Scotland. Children ages 4 and up get a chance to work on a variety of dance techniques that they display during Praize Productions annual performance.
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For Coach Keronn Walker, opening an indoor baseball facility for children in the inner city has been a dream come true. After years of working with little league teams across the city, this former minor league player finally opened the doors to BIG Baseball Academy in 2013. Located in Bronzeville, less than a mile from US Cellular Field, this venue offers professional instruction, batting cages, pitching machines and a place to practice during Chicago's winter months. For a relatively small fee, baseball hopefuls can learn the game from some of the best in the area. In addition to learning the game, the players have also gotten the opportunity to meet professional players like Curtis Granderson, Gordon Beckham and Luke Gregerson.
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3621 South State Street
Chicago, IL 60653
Magic Johnson Bridgescape:
He first made a name as a basketball star... but Earvin 'Magic' Johnson has gone on to become a high-powered businessman...owning professional sports teams, health clubs, movie theaters and an investment firm, just to name a few. And now, he is helping to get some Chicago students 'back on track' and in school. Chicago now has two Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academies. They are alternative high schools that allow students to work toward their high school diploma.
Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy-Lawndale
3222 West Roosevelt Road
Cory Gold, Program Director
Johnny Oduya/Hockey on Your Block:
2013 was their year...now, every Chicago hockey fan is hoping 2014 might be a repeat Stanley Cup Championship year! For the last 2 seasons, one of the Blackhawk's star defensemen? has been Johnny Oduya. The son of a Kenyan father and Swedish mother sat down with ABC7's Jim Rose to talk about his start in the sport, being a role model and how he and his teammates hope to recapture the cup.
Despite a huge Blackhawks following, Chicago ?was- the only major city in the country without an introductory program to teach inner-city kids how to play hockey. That is, until Ray Lilja and buddy, Congressman Mike Quigley launched Hockey on your Block two years ago. Johnny's Ice House gives the ice time, others donate the equipment and the instructors volunteer their time.
Aparecio foundation/Hasana boutique:
Some inner-city high school girls are getting a 'helping hand' thanks to a former Chicago banking executive with big dreams... and a very creative approach to -fund- those dreams. Jessica George launched the Aparecio foundation to give a boost to low-income, high-potential high-school girls. In order to support the foundation, she opened up Hasana boutique...designers agree to accept a discounted rate for their clothing, giving the rest of the proceeds to Aparecio. It was supposed to be a 'pop-up' shop? but so many customers and supporters believe in the cause that business is going strong.
2937 N. Clark
The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center:
It's a spectacular $68 million dollar facility that is a combination health club, after school-center, basketball arena... and water park...but for its thousands of members, it has become so much more than that! The West Pullman neighborhood where the Kroc center opened just a year and a half ago has seen some major changes?crime rates in the area have dropped 30% and even educators say grades have improved for most of the children who come here.
The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
1250 W. 119th Street
Chicago, IL 60643