Heart and Soul: February 19, 2011

February 18, 2011 10:00:00 PM PST

Ring of Hope
This grass roots organization was established in 2010 by two community activists who felt it was their calling to engage young men who lived in the Greater Grand Crossing area. This program was initially scheduled for eight weeks but was so impressive that this project has now evolved into an after school program. In total, about 35 young boys participate in a variety of activities. The program devotes a period of time to physical fitness, mentoring and boxing. This organization was launched without any funding except for local businesses who donated their money, time and resources. From the warehouse to the boxing ring and equipment, this community based organization is an example of how it takes a village. In addition to exercising and learning the mechanics of boxing, these little warriors also distribute food to the homeless and less fortunate every Thursday at their facility hoping to learn the importance of community service.

For more information:

7445 S. South Chicago
Chicago, IL 60619

Hip Hop Detoxx
Here in Chicago, there's a group called Hip Hop Detoxx who works closely with the Chicago Tobacco Prevention Project to inform youth about the dangers of smoking. This community based organization was founded by an artist who believes in empowering children to make the right choices in life. Throughout the year, this multi-talented group of artists who all share a passion for educating and empowering young people travels across the city and country to various schools enlightening them on a variety of subjects. Today, we caught them at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy talking to an auditorium full of students about their role in stopping the use of tobacco related products. During this session, teens hear the statistics, see the visuals and discover what chemicals and products make up the ingredients of cigarettes. This scare tactic might appear to be far-fetched but in reality this presentation turns on a light bulb for many of these gen X'ers. At the program's conclusion, teens walk away with more knowledge than they bargained for which makes the artists extremely proud.

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In business since June 2010, GeoSoul has been pampering patrons with its tantalizing cuisine that provides meals that are fulfilling and full of flavor. From the Tilapia to the Salmon, GeoAlicia is a working chef who prides herself on putting her all into her works of art.

For more information:

3462 Vollmer Road
Olympia Fields, IL 60461

Sir & Madame
In Ukrainian Village, there's a boutique that aims to please no matter how old or young. This retail outlet that began in July 2010 was the vision of the husband and wife team who own the business. At their location, you can find an assortment of bags, accessories, classic wardrobe pieces and novelty items that were all made in the US. Recently, this charming duo traveled to Las Vegas to market their brand at one of the merchandise shows.

Sir & Madame 938 North Damen 773.489.6660 www.sirandmadame.com

Dina Griffin
Chicago's skyline is certainly a work of art. From the John Hancock to the Willis Tower, this city is renowned for its great architecture. So when the Art Institute of Chicago decided to expand the museum, they looked to Itailian Architect Renzo Piano for his expertise and global vision. However, what many don't know is that the Renzo Piano Building Workshop worked in tandem with the Chicago based firm Interactive Design Eight Architects headed by Dina Griffin. In May 2009, The Art Institute Modern Wing opened after a much anticipated wait. This spacious facility is equipped with galleries on all three floors - an Education Center and Main Street known as Griffin Court. The elaborate design and concept also boasts a top floor that features a flying carpet that filters light for the galleries and exhibits. Dina Griffin has been featured in several publications. And although she is grateful for the publicity, she still walks with humility and grace. Currently a member of the AIA and NOMA, Dina is one of 262 black architects in the US which makes her extremely proud.

For more information:

308 West Erie Street
Suite 506
Chicago, IL 60654