Chicago youths take time to serve

January 19, 2009 2:32:58 PM PST
The future first family was not the only group of people serving others on Monday.Five Chicago teenagers who used to be homeless participated in a food drive. The youths said while their contribution was small, it means the world to them as they pay it forward.

Crystal Davis, 25, is passionate about feeding America because she knows who it's like to go without. At 18 she was homeless on the streets of Chicago. But thanks to the Teen Living Program, a non-profit organization that helps youth get back on their feet, she is thriving.

"I learned independence skills, how to take care of myself, how to maintain a job and how to survive out here," said Davis.

And now she is giving back.

Davis and other T.L.P. recipients are in Washington gathering food to distribute to the homeless.

"It's like a one-time experience. A lot of people wanted to participate but a lot of people can't, so little me being able to participate means a whole lot," said Davis.

"We're doing our part at Teen Living Programs. Other organizations are doing their part. We all need additional resources to be able to do it," said David Meyers, Teen Living Programs.

Meyer says 2,000 teenagers will be homeless tonight in Chicago so on this day of service it was especially important for the young people not just to pause and reflect but to act.

"It's overwhelming to see so much positive energy going around. You can just feed off it and it helps you be a better and you hope you can give that to someone else to make them feel better," said Eric Smith.

Smith says the generosity is contagious and so is the enthusiasm about the history being made in America as Barack Obama becomes the 44th president of the United States.

"I never really thought that this would actual this happen in my lifetime. To see a black man actually become the president, and get signed in, it means a lot," said Smith.

Dr. Martin Luther King would be proud of the Chicago youths because he always said that not everyone can be great, but everyone can serve.