In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived six months in North Lawndale as a symbolic gesture of his work, highlighting the economic plight of the poor.  By that time, a series of economic and social distresses, including Sears’ (then the largest retailer in the world) move out of North Lawndale, had drastically shifted the neighborhood from its once vibrant state.  By 1970, 75% of the businesses in North Lawndale left or closed.  This economic and social exodus left North Lawndale to experience a loss of almost half of its housing units and population.  Today, 39% of North Lawndale’s families are below the poverty level, 30% do not have a high school diploma, and 19% are unemployed.  The per capita income is just over $12,500.  Despite these hardships, the spirit and commitment of residents in North Lawndale, including the 26% under age 15 as of 2010, make the neighborhood ripe for impact.

North Lawndale map

Since last school year, Get IN Chicago has increased our support in North Lawndale to include parent engagement programs with Family Focus and Westcare, wraparound trauma and CBT services with Hektoen Institute, intensive mentoring and advocacy with Lawndale Christian Legal Center, and coding and technology trainings with Smart Chicago.  This fall, UCANAlternative Schools Network, and Youth Advocate Program will start mentoring programs in the neighborhood, and Youth Guidance will scale up its CBT programming.

Altogether, these new investments add up to more than half a million dollars of impact for youth and parents in the North Lawndale community.  We look forward to sharing more about organizations we will support in North Lawndale in the coming weeks as we announce new grant awards!

In the meantime, check out news about these other great initiatives happening in North Lawndale:

dna info nl

Inner City Teen Farmers See Hard Work Bearing Fruit: Nestled in between the Central Park “L” station and busy West Ogden Avenue, a site that was once home to an abandoned laundromat is now giving local teens the opportunity to grow.

North Lawndale Residents Encouraged by Heightened Police Presence: Most of us have heard of “community policing,” the strategy of having more interaction between police officers and the people living and working in the neighborhoods they patrol. This weekend, CBS 2 got an up close look at how that strategy is working on a block in North Lawndale.

North Lawndale High School to help pay out-of-pocket college costs: A couple thousand dollars may not seem like much. But for many poor North Lawndale students, it might as well be a million. One school is vowing to pay the difference with the help of local philanthropists.