A prominent social servant recently made the comment: “I can’t help but notice that it looks as though the social safety net in the Black community is steadily being eroded, piece by piece,” they said. “When this occurs,” they continued “. . . the responsibility falls upon the backs of the not-for-profit community,” they stated.
Indeed, the Chicago Defender has reported on dozens of not-for-profits (NFP) serving the Black community throughout our 2016 editorial line up. From recent startups to well known and established organizations to some that fly under the radar, but are nonetheless making an impact; we’ve covered them all.
One such organization that’s been in the community serving the youth in particular, is the NFP Kidz Korna. The organization informally started in 1995 in response to the gangs that controlled the street corners on 79th and Ashland, in the heart of the Ashburn-Gresham community.
At one point each corner of the intersection was controlled by a different gang says Delece Williams, Ph.D., the organization’s founder and director. “Kids were fighting and getting beat down at the bus stop and girls were being snatched up against their will and being taken for prostitution,” she stated in an interview with Ebony magazine.
With lots of tenacity and community support as well as support from her husband Farley “Jackmaster” Funk; the organization started a toy drive in 2007. Years later, Kidz Korna is hosting its 11th Annual Miracle Toy Giveaway and Youth Expo this entire weekend.
Gifts, Opportunities & Purpose – The GOP giveback!
Per PR maven, Bonnie Winfrey: “The purpose of the Giveaway and Youth Expo is for the city of Chicago to come together, donate to the giveaway and bring their children out to the weekend long events.”
This year’s giveaway has a special focus – reducing the violence – says Winfrey; thanks to one of their sponsors Harmony Health Plan (HHP), A WellCare Company that’s afforded them the opportunity to expand the event to three days serving four locations.
Says HHP’s state president Dr. Robert Hilliard, Jr., “At Harmony, our mission is to help our members live better and healthier lives – and that often means working with community groups like Kidz Korna to help strengthen the neighborhoods where our members live. We are proud to sponsor Kidz Korna to help them offer programs that are designed to prevent violence and provide opportunities and resources to improve children’s lives.”
Williams asserts “Every time I think about my childhood and what toys meant to me during some of the most difficult times while growing up it still makes me cry. I can imagine it to be no different for so many children as we constantly hear about the many negative issues that they face today, from child abuse, youth violence, mental Illness, poverty and especially the loss of loved ones due to gun violence.”
Expected to be one of the largest giveaways in Chicago, Winfrey says not only will there be discussions for youth and adults to talk about strategies involving a call to action to help cure violence but resources as well.
Starting Tomorrow – Kidz Korna 11th Annual Miracle Toy Giveaway and Youth Expo
The goal of the event is to bring Chicagoans together to help gather toys and gifts for some 3000 children.
Friday, December 16th (3 – 6pm) Free Stop the Violence Play Harold Washington Center 4700 S. King Drive
Saturday, December 17th (12noon – 5pm) Youth Expo
House of Hope
752 E. 114th Street
Confirmed guests for the event: Chicago Police representatives Ronald Holt & Officer Michelle Millicent; youth advocate & entertainer Donovan Price; senior advocate Clara Hubbard; Mark Allen (Black Wall Street); Andrew Holmes; former Denver tight end football player Desmond Clarke; Angela Martin, and Harmony WellCare representatives. Others invited: Sgt. Bridget Campbell, Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Duty Chief Eric Washington and Commissioner Joe Santiago and a host of supporting organizations.
Sunday, December 18th
Toy Giveaway Tour
Englewood’s Ogden Park (12noon – 2pm) Evangelistic Outreach Ministry, 5619 West Madison St. (4pm – 6pm)
“For 21 years, we’ve been taking at-risk youth from the street corners to opportunities, producing successful outcomes,” says Williams.
“We have served over 20,000 families and I’m especially grateful for the support that I received from my major sponsor, Harmony Health Plan (HHP), A WellCare Company. In addition to the love and support from my husband Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, my daughter Danielle McDuffy and her husband, and my granddaughters Dior and Dion.
Also, Mike Airhart and his Kiddie World characters, Andrew Holmes, Officer Millicent, Takesha Howard, Ald. David Moore, Bonnie Winfrey, Michelle Williams and all of our countless volunteers and friends.”
“I am so grateful to see how God has truly made miracles happen for others just by us simply passing out toys. Merry Christmas and God Bless everyone.”
To donate toys please call (773)957.6422
or drop off toys at US Bank (63rd & Halsted – Chgo.) or Mathers (33 E. 83rd Street – Chgo.)