Cabrini Green mural celebrates organization helping Chicago kids

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The By the Hand Club for Kids organization celebrated 20 years Saturday in Chicago's Cabrini Green, as well as the 6,000 children getting help in across the city.

"It changed my life -- academically, spiritually, even physically," said By the Hand Club for Kids member, 19-year-old Jaylen McDonald.

McDonald reflected on his seven years with the after school program.

"I would come here after school to play basketball, read bible scriptures, do other activities and make new friends," he said.

McDonald is one of multiple student artists featured on this new mural unveiled in Cabrini Green, neighborhood where the program's mission began.

"As a kid growing up in Cabrini, it wasn't always easy," said Natasha Childress.

Childress, a 2010 high school grad and club alum, said the program was an extra push supporting her as she grew up.

"They helped me get into a private high school that I graduated from in 2010," she said. "They also helped me pay for college."

"We know that there's an opportunity gap in the lives of kids living in under resourced neighborhoods," said By the Hand Club for Kids Founder Donnita Travis.

Guided by faith, Travis founded the organization in 2001. She said it now offers everything from college prep to computer coding, with no plans to slow down.

"We're excited to go for another 20 plus years," Travis added.
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