I Am A Gentleman gifts toys, books and coats to 250 families in Bronzeville

Michelle Gallardo Image
Sunday, December 24, 2023
I Am A Gentleman gifts toys, books, coats to 250 families
I Am A Gentleman held a Christmas giveaway for 250 families in Bronzeville, Chicago on Sunday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A picture with Santa, a warm coat and a new toy are things many children take for granted during the holidays.

But for many across the city, it would not be possible without the generosity of others. And on Sunday, hundreds gathered in Bronzeville for an opportunity to be part of I Am A Gentleman's annual giveaway. Among them were Thymberliee Stevenson and nine out of her 12 grandchildren.

"It's very amazing. I have a lot of grandkids, so I buy a little, and I try to get them a give gifts, because some of them don't have it all, but I do the best I can," Stevenson said.

Many of the families participating in Sunday's giveaway were selected after writing in with their stories.

"I got some headphones, a car and a speaker for my mom," said Demario Brown.

After taking their pictures with Santa, each child was given the opportunity to pick out three toys and a book.

"I got a Lego set for my little brother, and I got a book, a speaker and some headphones," said Julio Forest.

There were also new coats on hand for those who needed them.

Those on the giving end are all participants in I Am A Gentleman's male mentorship program. Myshawn Tate, 15, is in his first year with the organization.

"It's changed me a lot, taught me how to respect myself, others and especially how to respect women," Tate said.

That is exactly the purpose of I Am A Gentleman, to take young, Black inner city youth and turn them into leaders within their community. The Christmas giveaway is the way they close out a year of activities.

"Every young man in our city is not a bad young man. Every young man in our city is not involved in negative behavior. We have some of the finest young men in the City of Chicago, and we are here to give them the opportunity to showcase who they are," said I Am A Gentleman Executive Director Jermaine Lawrence.

I Am A Gentleman's Christmas giveaway is in its eighth year, and each year, it gets bigger, with 250 families participating in Sunday's event.