CHICAGO — Several Chicago non-profits have joined forces to expand their reach.
Imagine Englewood If dedicates its efforts to improve the quality of life for the community and its youth.
Michelle Rashad first connected with Imagine Englewood If when she was in high school and now she’s the executive director.
“I want to make sure we’re creating a better community for our young people,” she said.
The organization provides year-round programming for young people, focusing on healthy living, environmental awareness and positive communication.
And now they’re expanding.
Last year, Metropolitan Family Services temporarily acquired I Grow Chicago and its peace campus at 64th and Honore intending to eventually transfer it to an organization rooted in the West Englewood community.
That officially happened late last month, with Imagine Englewood If taking over as owner and operator.
“We decided that IEi was in best position to become the anchor of the peace campus and to really scale our organization from not just serving young people but to having more comprehensive services for the entire family,” Rashad said.
Part of the change includes I Grow Chicago becoming We Grow Chicago. The “we” stands for West Englewood and the collaborative approach to addressing the community’s challenges after decades of disinvestment.
According to Rashad, they are planning to remove transportation barriers and barriers with regard to trusting social services.
And at the heart of We Grow Chicago is the peace campus.
Rashad said it’s about creating opportunities with safe and empowering community spaces full of possibilities.
“Imagine Englewood If — we do that. If we empower young people to be non profit leaders,” Rashad said. “We’re doing that so it’s all about keeping that imagination alive.”
On Friday from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., they’re hosting a showcase and block party to celebrate the end of their Kids on the Move summer camp.
Future plans for the peace campus include a cutting-edge youth technology center.
They’re always in need of donations and skill-based volunteers. More information on their website.