Safety Update 

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Safety Liaison 

22nd District Police Community Conversations  

In October, the 22nd District was among Chicago Police Department district citywide that held the first of two Community Conversations via Zoom. The session was designed to connect police with people in their districts in for productive discussions that will be used for a collaborative, community based strategic plan for each district. 

Attendees were given two questions to address 

Based on your personal experience, what are the key problems (i.e. violence, property crimes, quality of life) that you would like the police to address for your community? 

How would you like to see the police engage more deeply with your community (including youth, older adults, domestic violence victims, businesses, and faith communities)? 

The attendees and 22nd District officers were broken into small groups to discuss the two questions.  Following the hour-long session, the entire group was reunited to examine how district residents answered the questionsAttendees offered a wide variety of ideas and experiences, citing issues like property crimes/car break-ins and the need to report potential criminal activity as problems and generally agreeing that they would like to increase opportunities to build better relationships with police officers 

Everyone’s comments were recorded and will be presented to the 22nd District Commander and his staff. They will develop an action plan to be presented at Community Conversation 2, Tues., Nov. 24, 6 p.m. via Zoom. 

These conversations are an opportunity for residents to identify, discuss, and help craft solutions to some of the top concerns in the community I encourage everyone to make an effort to participate on the Nov. 24. 


COVID-19 Update 

COVID 19 is still very much with us, and, unfortunatelythe Beverly/Morgan Park area is experiencing an uptick in the case positivity rate. Please continue to wear masks and follow all the required safety guidelines. If you plan on traveling out of the city,  check the City of Chicago website for states on the travel advisory. 

Introducing CAPS Community Organizer Belinda Washington 

By Gary Jenkins 

Belinda J. Washington is not a Chicago Police Officer, she is a civilian, yet she serves in a vital role as the 22nd District’s Community Organizer.  As much as it important for the community to get know the officers who serve the Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods, it is also important to get to know the civilians who works night and day with the CAPS office and its police officers.   

As the 22nd District’s community organizer, Washington’s role is to help manage the CAPS office, organize district-wide community events, and communicate with the residents of 22nd District about activities and events being sponsored by the 22nd District.  

This month marks Washington’s 22nd year with the Chicago Police Department, and she has been at the 22nd District for five years.  As a function of her role, she attends Beat meetings, National Night Out events, Outdoor Roll Calls, and just about any public event the 22nd District has going on in the community. She also sends out correspondence via email and newsletters to help keep residents informed on the goings on at the 22nd District. 

Having served as a Beat Facilitator for the more than ten years and participated in numerous 22ND District events over the same time period, I have had the opportunity to work with two 22nd District Community Organizers. Washington came in and immediately familiarized herself with the neighborhoods and people. Her dedication and commitment to her profession and the people she serves are apparent from the moment you meet her. The people of this community are very fortunate to have such a dedicated and professional CAPS office, and Belinda Washington is a vitally important part of that office. 

Please Support BAPA’s Work in Our Community


The pandemic forced the cancellation of BAPA’s major fundraising events – Home Tour, Ridge Run & Memorial Day Parade, and Beverly Hills Cycling Classic Bikes & Brews – eliminating funding sources vital to our operations.


Restrictions inspired BAPA to invest our scarce resources into free programs to meet the changing needs of our neighborhood. Here are some of the things we accomplished:

Small Business Support

  • Promoting your business on Instagram webinar with expert Maggie O’Reilly
  • Digital marketing webinar with expert Jason Wiley
  • Business planning webinar with Ivan Ruiz from Beverly Bank & Trust
  • Special business coverage in The Villager

Community Spirit

  • Bike Beverly initiative with online maps of safe local bike routes
  • Support of Divvy bikes
  • Retooled History Mystery Bike Adventure for summer/fall family-friendly games
  • Friday Night Live livestreamed porch concert series supporting local musicians
  • We Love Smith Village vehicle parade
  • Happy Birthday to Korean War vet Rico Miller vehicle parade
  • Remembering Brian Piccolo vehicle parade

Community Outreach

  • Donated Home Tour booties to a hospital in need during COVID-19 treatment crisis
  • Slow Down safe driving campaign
  • Delivered senior meals donated by Franconello restaurant
  • Supported 19th Ward Youth Foundation free meals to area first responders and medical personnel
  • Donated to and supported Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry
  • Brought Beverly Bakery donuts to 22nd District police officers
  • Developed BAPA Cares COVID-19 Response resources at
  • Co-hosts weekly Free Store with Turpin Cares and 19th Ward Mutual Aid
  • Hosted a job search webinar with expert Megan Connolly
  • Listed local business/restaurant updates to promote shopping and eating locally in weekly enews and The Villager

School and Teens

  • Presented CPS Community Service Awards to students in neighborhood public schools
  • Launched the BAPA Teen Service Corps volunteer group
  • Presented the BAPA Cares pandemic response webinar


  • Socially distant spring clean and green clean-ups
  • Weeding Wednesdays at area parks and public areas
  • Pitch in for the Parks special park clean-ups


As a not-for-profit organization, BAPA depends on donations from residents and businesses to continue working on the issues that keep our community strong, safe, connected and thriving. Support us by making a donation or joining as a BAPA residential or business member.

22nd District CAPS Profile: Officer James Connell 

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Community Safety Liaison 

Officer James Connell is the Chicago Police Departments Abandoned Buildings Officer for the 22nd District, and he has been in that role for the past six years. One of his responsibilities in that role is to follow up on complaints from residents regarding buildings and homes. Although the abandoned building officer fields all types of complaints about problem properties, complaints involving overgrown yards, and buildings and homes in need of obvious repairs are usually referred to Pat Hefferman, Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation, 312-933-2763. 

If a property appears to have been abandoned or is vacant or unsecured, Officer Connell will initiate an investigation to determine the ownership status. If a property owner can be identified, efforts will be made to have the owner address the problems. If the owner does not address situation, or the in the case of an abandoned or vacant property, where the owner cannot be located, Officer Connell will refer the property to City of Chicago’s Law Department for legal action.  

If residents have tangible information regarding illegal activity in a vacant or abandoned buildingor if they have questions or concerns regard potential troubled buildings, they should contact Officer Connell, 312-745-0620 or email 

Besides notifying Officer Connell, residents can call 311 or visit City of Chicago websites that have very helpful information: 

Commander Wiser Takes the Helm at the 22nd District Police Station 


Making deep, positive connections with the community is Commander Richard Wiser’s goal as the new commander of the Chicago Police Department’s 22nd District. Wiser has been with the CPD for 29 years, in the Bureau of Patrol for 17 years and the Bureau of Detectives for 12, working in both property and violent crimes.  

“My last two years, I led a team of detectives that conducted investigations city-wide; it was a pleasure working with such professional, skilled, and devoted sergeants and detectives. They should be very proud of the work they continue to do,” Wiser said. 

Wiser is pleased with his team at the 22nd District and aims to build upon the great work they have done in the past. He seeks to encourage more personal engagement with the community. 

“I have always believed that the police are part of the community. These officers are great people and engaging with the public can only improve relationships,” he said. “When conditions permit, I encourage foot patrol by our beat officers; I think we lose our connection to people by driving around in cars all day. Today’s world is becoming too dependent on technology and is losing the personal connection between people.” 

Although he hopes for more face-to-face interactions, Wiser recognizes the important role social media plays in sharing information. The District plans to utilize Facebook and Twitter to alert the community of any information they need to be aware of. 

As a Mount Greenwood resident for the last 30 years, and Beverly/Morgan Park before thatWiser is well in-tune with the needs of Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood 

“These communities have always been very strong; the people actively engage in community events and are very demanding of the services they should expect. This community is not afraid to call or complain when they are having issues; they do not accept disturbances or crime conditions as party of ‘city’ life, nor should they. We need good neighbors to tell us what and where the problems are. That is the partnership we have; without the community’s eyes and ears, we would be ineffective,” he said.  

Neighborhood Notes – April 2018

Spring Flower Sale. Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, 2017 W. 110th Pl., is accepting orders for its annual sale of spring flowers through May 10. Choices include several varieties of impatiens, petunias, salvia, geraniums, herns and more, and can be ordered in four-packs, flats, pots and baskets. Flower pick-up is May 19. Info:

CAPS Meetings. 22nd District Police CAPS meetings are open to all. Beat 2221, Tues., Apr. 3, 7 p.m. Christ the King, 9225 S. Hamilton; Court Advocacy Subcommittee, Wed., Apr. 11, 1:30 p.m. 22nd District Police Station, 1900 W. Monterey; Bea 2213, Thurs., Apr. 12, 6:30 p.m. Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr.; Domestic Violence Subcommittee, Thurs., Apr. 26, 10:30 a.m. 22nd District Police Station.  Info: 312-745-0620.

Smith Village Open Mic Night. Area singers, musicians, comedians and other entertainers are welcome to perform at Open Mic Night, Tues., Apr. 3, 7 to 10 p.m., Smith Village Community Hall, 2320 W. 113th P. Free; refreshments will be served. To sign up an act, contact Debbie Parks, or 773-574-9727. For information about attending, call 773-474-7300 and ask for Meghan Maple.

Beverly Therapists Offer Groups, Events. Beverly Therapists, 10725 S. Western, 2nd floor, offers a variety of groups and seminars. Free ongoing monthly LGBTQ+ Support Group for high school aged teens; call Christina Sprayberry, 314-550-4384 or Bonn Wade, 773-330-2544 for info. Spring Renewal Wellness Seminar, Sat., Apr. 21, 3 to 5 p.m., featuring guided meditation, QiGong and gentle yoga to raise energies for a fresh start,$10.  Grieving a Child Support Group meets the first Wednesday of each month, 7 to 9 p.m., and Grieving a Partner Support Group meets the third Wednesday of each month, 7 to 9 p.m., $30 per session. Info and registration:

LSC Meetings. John H. Vanderpoel Humanities Academy LSC, Tues., Apr. 3, 5:30 p.m. 9510 S. Prospect Ave., 773-535-269; Kellogg School LSC, Thurs., Apr. 5, 6 p.m. School Library, 9241 S. Leavitt St., 773-535-2590; Barnard Elementary School LSC, Mon., Apr. 16, 6:30 p.m. Room 203, 10354 S. Charles St., 773-535-2625; Clissold School LSC, Mon., Apr. 16, 7 p.m. Auditorium, 2350 W. 110th Pl., 773-535-2560; Sutherland School LSC, Tues., Apr. 17, 6:30 p.m. school, 10015 S. Leavitt St., 773-535-2580; Morgan Park High School LSC, Wed., Apr. 18, 7 to 9 p.m. Library, 1744 W. Pryor, 773-535-2550; and Barbara Vick Early Childhood & Family Center LSC, Tues., Apr. 24, 3:45 p.m., St. Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St., 773-535-2671.

Dance Gallery Registration. Registration is now open for the spring session of dance classes for children and adults at the Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western. Classes are offered for beginners through advanced levels in several dance disciplines, and are taught by a professional dance faculty. Info: 773-445-8910 or

Butterfly Gardening Workshop. The Oak Lawn Park District hosts a butterfly gardening workshop Sat., Apr. 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oak View Center, 4625 W. 110th St. The workshop will be divided into three parts: butterfly gardening, monarch conservation, and raising caterpillars at home. $10.  Register using code 427117 at 708-857-2201.

Yoga and Wellness Events. Light House Yoga & Wellness, 11240 S. Western Ave., 2nd floor offers the following events this month: Ayurveda for Spring with Maureen Ryan, Sun., Apr. 8, 1 p.m.; Women’s Workshop with Life Coach Bridget Rourke, Sun., Apr. 15, 3 p.m.; Welcome to Light House Open House Celebration, Sun., Apr. 22, all day, featuring free yoga classes (sign up at, live music, refreshments and good vibes; and Sound Healing: Live Music, Restorative Yoga and Aromatherapy with Brendan McAlinden and Erin Kelly, Sun., Apr. 29, 3 p.m. Info: 773-569-1015. Complete class schedule and registration:

Registration Opens Apr. 8 for Summer Peace Camp.  Registration opens Apr. 8 for the annual Peace Camp at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 9401 S. Oakley Ave. Peace Camp is for children entering 1st grade through 6th grade, and will be held June 2 through 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children will learn how to find peace through yoga and prayer, non-violent conflict resolution, multicultural appreciation, the arts, care of creation, and more. Bible stories will teach about peace and camp includes a one-day field trip. All children welcome. $60 per camper (scholarships available). Register on a first-come, first-served basis at  or 773-445-7558.

Seminar Topic is Jesus’s Ministry. Lois Tverberg, author of “Reading the Bible with Jesus,” will present a seminar on the topic Jesus, Our Rabbi and Lord Sun., Apr. 8, 5 to 6:30 p.m., Bethany Union Church of Chicago, 1750 W. 103rd St. The seminar will look at how Jesus’s first-century Jewish context sheds light on his ministry and messianic claims. Free. Info/RSVP: 773-779-0123 or

Chicago Speech Study Seeks Volunteers. The Georgetown University Department of Linguistics is conducting a study on the production and perception of Chicago speech, seeks the help of people over age 18 who were born and raised in the Chicago area and have normal hearing and speech.  The study lasts around 60 minutes and will take place at Northwestern University, Apr, 9 to 13. Participants will read a series of sentences while the movement of their tongue is measured with ultrasound. Their speech will be recorded with audio and video. You will then complete a computer-based task where you are asked to listen to speech samples and report what you hear. Info: Jonathan Havenhill, Participants will receive a $20 Amazon gift card.

Longwood Writers Guild. Longwood Writers Guild, a critique group for adult creative writers, will meet Mon. Apr. 9. 7 pm., BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. Bring a piece you are working on to read aloud for productive comments. Donation requested. Info:

Kellogg School Events. The Adler Planetarium’s ‘Scopes in the City will be at Kellogg School, 9241 S. Leavitt, Mon., Apr. 23, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a free  program of observing the spring sky – hopefully including the moon and Venus – by telescope. The event will be held weather permitting, so check and Twitter @AdlerPlanet for updates closer to the event.  Jazzin’ at the Blossom, a benefit for Kellogg School, will be held Fri., June 1, 7 to 10 p.m., Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery, 9030 S. Hermitage. The event features live music, open bar, and wine and food pairings with Chef Alvin Green. $50 before May 11 or $60 after. Info:

End of Life Care for Pets. Veterinarian Dr. Amir Shanan will present “Hospice and Other Choices for End of Life Care for Pets,” a lecture and discussion, Tues., Apr. 24, 7 p.m., Ingersoll-Blackwelder House, 10910 S. Prospect Ave. Dr. Shanan provides information, support and guidance in helping owners of beloved geriatric or seriously ill pets with care options. He is founder of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. Reservations needed by Apr. 12 at or 708-638-6813. $5 donation requested for the not-for-profit Compassion for Pets organization that assists families unable to pay for end of life care for their pets.

Free Shred Event. Beverly Bank and Trust, 10258 S. Western, will hold a free shred event Sat., Apr. 14, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Items you can shred include: tax information and returns, investment and bank records, cancelled checks and paycheck stubs, bills and household information, personal documents and more. Electronic devices will be collected for recycling. Info: 773-239-2265.

Rummage Sale. Morgan Park United Methodist Church, 11030 S. Longwood Dr., will hold a spring rummage sale Fri., Apr. 13 and Sat., Apr. 14, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Clothing, household items, jewelry, books, furniture and more will be available. Enter at north end of the parking lot. Info: 773-238-2600

Life Line Screening. Life Line Screening, a provider of community-based preventive health screenings, will offer a preventive health event Tues., Apr. 17, Bethany Union Church, 1750 W. 103rd St. Five screenings will scan for potential health problems related to blocked arteries, abdominal aortic aneurysms, hardening of the arteries in the legs, atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat, and bone density. Fees, information and registration: 1-888-653-6441 or

Renaissance Academy. The John T. Farrell, Sr. Forum of Renaissance Academy presents a spring forum, Catherine of Siena:  Philosopher, Theologian, Saint and Doctor of the Church, Thurs., Apr. 19, 11:30 a.m., Saint Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St., Butler Reception Room. Dominican Sister Nancy Murray dramatizes vignettes of St. Catherine’s life from childhood to her influence on political and church leaders of her time. A light luncheon precedes the presentation. Admission is free and open to the public.

Clean and Green. Join BAPA and help clean up a park, train station or public space near you on Chicago clean and green spring clean-up day, Sat., April 21, starting at 9 a.m. Find locations and easy sign-up at

Band Plays Four Seasons Music. The Four C Notes, a tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, will perform Sat., Apr. 21. 8 p.m. Baffes Theatre, Beverly Art Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.  Tickets: $30 ($27/Beverly Arts Center members). Tickets/info: 773-445-3838 or

Open House Highlights Rehab Therapy Services. Learn about the physical, occupational and speech therapy teams at Mercy Circle, 3659 W. 99th St., at an open house, Sun., Apr. 22, 11 to 2 p.m. Therapists offer short-term services to help patients with the transition from a hospital stay to self-reliance back at home. Information about this rehab option as well as an introduction to Mercy Circle’s independent living lifestyle will be offered at the open house. Guests are encouraged to tour the chapel, exercise room, salon, library and dining rooms and ask questions about the many, daily activities at Mercy Circle. Info/private appointments: 773-253-3600.

Faith and Unity: Community Choir Concert.  The Beverly/Morgan Park Community Choir will perform its annual concert with the theme “Faith & Unity,” Sun., Apr. 22, 4 p.m., St. Cajetan Church, 2445 W. 112th St. The choir will perform a variety of sacred music from classical to gospel, accompanied by piano, percussion, and brass instruments.  Nearly 60 singers from 20 churches throughout the South Side are members of the Beverly/Morgan Park Community Choir. The group draws singers of all faiths. The concert is open to all; a free will offering will be taken at intermission. Info: or

Motown Revue at BAC. Masters of Soul Motown Revue, a celebration of the legendary songs and performers that defined Motown and soul music, will be on stage Fri., Apr. 27, 8 p.m. Baffes Theatre, Beverly Art Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.  Tickets: $38 ($34/Beverly Arts Center members). Tickets/info: 773-445-3838 or

‘Cinderella’ at BAC. Chicago Kids Company presents “Cinderella,” one hour musical adaptation of the popular fairy tale geared to children age 2 to 12, selected dates through May 5, Baffes Theatre, Beverly Art Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St. Tickets: $12; lap children under age 2, free. Group rates available. Info/tickets: 773-205-9600 or

Robbie Fulks at BAC. Robbie Fulks, alternative country singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, performs Fri., May 4, 8 p.m. Baffes Theatre, Beverly Art Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.  Tickets: $30 ($27/Beverly Arts Center members). Tickets/info: 773-445-3838 or

BIA Bird Watch and Nature Walk. The Beverly Improvement Association (BIA) hosts its annual Bird Watch and Nature Walk Sat., May 12, at Dan Ryan Woods. The free coffee, juice, and donuts tailgate begins at 7:30 a.m. in the 89th and Western Avenue parking lot. At 8:15 a.m., noted local ornithologist Walter Marcisz will begin the tour. Bring binoculars and wear waterproof boots.


Police Presence, Nosey Neighbors and Being Informed Impact Safety

According to BAPA’s safety survey, a strong and consistent police presence, a commitment to being nosey neighbors and having access to community alerts and crime information are the top three tools needed for a safer community. (See survey results.)

“I think these results show how much confidence our community has in our police force, so much so that we hope Chicago Police Department leadership will dedicate more police manpower to protecting our commercial and residential areas,” BAPA’s Margot Holland.

“The survey provides valuable information for our law enforcement partners,” said 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea. ” I look forward to ongoing collaboration with BAPA and the 22nd District.”

The survey was distributed in early December through email blasts and social media, and was completed by nearly 2,000 area residents.

“It was a great response, and respondents overwhelmingly agreed that frequent police patrols throughout the community is the most effective crime-fighting tool,” Holland said.

Being a nosey neighbor and calling 9-1-1 to report suspicious activity was cited as the second most important aspect of crime prevention, and quick access to crime alerts came in third. CAPS meetings received the lowest confidence as a crime prevention tool.

Nearly 80% of the people who completed the survey have lived in the community for more than 10 years, and they provided good perspective on changes in community safety. “Many people noted that neighborhood receives a lot of attention from police when there is an uptick in crime, and that strong police presence is an effective crime deterrent,” Holland said. “People also commented that the neighborhood needs continuous police presence, not just added presence when something happens.”

While the vast number of survey respondents perceive the neighborhood as somewhat safe or very safe, a concerning number of people also indicated that they limit certain activities due to safety concerns.

“We received a lot of comments about where and why people curtail activities, and many people said that concern about their safety increased with the recent spate of crimes and there is more opportunity for crime because there are not enough police on the streets,” Holland said.

Even before the recent armed robberies, BAPA was developing the safety survey. “Those crimes made the survey more timely and the input we received more critical,” Holland said.

Survey respondents selected increased crime prevention tips in BAPA communications, volunteer-driven neighborhood watch, and neighborhood watch Facebook groups.

People interested in seeing the survey results can find it at The survey was developed by BAPA staff and board members with the help of 22nd District CAPS leaders, 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, and community members.


Holiday Giving Guide

The holidays are an especially difficult time for people who are in need of food, shelter, friendship and a helping hand. Neighborhood organizations are reaching out with a variety of collections and programs. Read more to see how you can help. 

Holiday Food Drive. Donations of canned goods and non-perishable food items for the Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry can be dropped off weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 1 through 15 at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western. The Food Pantry is also seeking monetary donations, which can be mailed to Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry, 11030 S. Longwood Dr., Chicago IL 60643.  Donations of $15 or more will provide a turkey dinner for local families. Each month, the Food Pantry serves about 1,200 families from the 60643 and 60655 zip codes. When you’re out stocking up for the holidays, consider buying something extra for a neighborhood family in need or writing a check to provide a holiday dinner with all the fixings.

Hops for the Homeless. Horse Thief Hollow, 10426 S. Western, will host Hops for the Homeless raising funds Franciscan Outreach services for Chicago’s homeless, Wed., Dec. 6, 7 to 10 p.m. Admission, $40 (advance) or $45 (door), includes beverages, food, music by These Old Men They Play Records, a silent auction and raffle. Bring in new hats or gloves in exchange for raffle ticket. Order tickets/make a donation

Children’s Book Drive. Donate used children’s books in good condition through Fri., Dec. 8 at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western. The book drive is co-sponsored by Ald. Matt O’Shea and Open Books, a non-profit organization that funds literacy programs by selling donated books. Info about Open Books: Info about the collection:

Share the Harvest. Grace Seeds Ministry is a “greenhouse” for the seeds of God’s love, justice and peace that are germinating in us, in our communities and in the world God loves. Morgan Park Presbyterian Church is a partner in Share the Harvest, Grace Seeds Ministry’s food pantry program, which inspires congregations to grow fresh produce in their gardens then donate the harvest to food pantries across Chicago. To participate in growing produce next season, call the church office, 773-779-3355.  To make a tax deductible donation to Grace Seeds Ministry, send cash or check to Grace Seeds Ministry, PO Box 1378, Bedford Park, IL  60499-1378. Info:

Snowball Party and Collection. 22nd District Police CAPS beat facilitators are collecting funds, gift cards, school materials and personal grooming items for its 2nd annual holiday party to benefit the families of 10 homeless kids who attend elementary schools in our district, Sat., Dec. 9, 1:30 p.m., at the Station, 1900 W. Monterey Ave.  Officers work with local school principals to select families and invite them to the luncheon with police, pastors, principals and community volunteers. On the night before the luncheon, local students transform the room to a winter wonderland at a holiday tree decorating party. Individuals and businesses are welcome to contribute gifts and necessities such as toiletries, household cleaning items, coats, bath items and more. For info on how you can help, call the 22nd District CAPS office, 312-745-0620.

Cheers for Charity. The 9th Annual Cheers for Charity Christmas Party will be held Thurs., Dec. 21. 7 to 10 p.m., Cork and Kerry, 10614 S. Western, raising funds to help local families in need. $40 minimum donation. The needy families are suggested by local charitable organizations, and their identities are kept private. The party raises funds to give the families a chance to enjoy the holiday season.

Help for the Homeless.  Carly Carney of Beverly Yoga Center, 1917 W. 103rd St., 2nd floor, is collecting men’s warm winter coats and blankets for the Lower Wacker Mission for the Homeless. Donations may be dropped off anytime in front of the studio on the second floor. Info: or 773-239-9642.

Angel Babies. Marlene’s Angel Babies Foundation accepts donations of wedding dresses that are deconstructed to become burial attire for babies who are stillborn or have died in infancy.  The foundation operates citywide; the local representative Mikki Carping, 708-906-0327.

The Blue House. The Catholic Youth Ministry Center at Morgan Park High School, 1825 W. Monterey Ave., more commonly known as The Blue House, is the only program of its kind associated with a Chicago Public High School, providing a “home away from home” where there is always someone for students to talk to. Volunteers can help by presenting Career Exploration Workshops, or facilitating interactive educational workshops on topics such as college essays and applications, money management and social media safety. Plumbers, electricians and handymen are always needed to help maintain the old house. Info: Peggy Goddard, 773-881-0193

I Am Who I Am Foundation. Teens and adults with special abilities who package, label and create artwork, and sell I am . . . bath and body products for the I Am Who I Am Foundation, receive a percentage of the sales.  The non-profit organization advocates for people with special needs. I Am . . . products are available at Murray’s Browse and Brew, 3545 W. 99th St., and

Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club. Women who care deeply about being of service are invited to learn more about joining the Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club. The Juniors provide a variety of service and fund raising project throughout the year. On Dec. 8, Club members will provide a luncheon for Department of Veterans’ Affairs Vet Center at 87th and Kedzie.   On Dec. 16, the club is participating in Wreaths Across America, a nationwide initiative to, on the same day at the same time, lay wreaths on at the graves of fallen soldiers in military cemeteries.  They will lay wreaths at Abraham Lincoln Cemetery.  This month the club will visit the Family Rescue Woman’s Shelter on the East side to present Holiday Gift Bags; collecting treats and paperbacks to send overseas to military troops; and organizing the Work Out to Wipe Out Domestic Violence event that will be held ton Mar. 24 to benefit A New Direction Beverly Morgan Park. Info: Cynthia Heywood,

Friends of the Forest Preserves. Friends of the Forest Preserves is the only independent non-profit organization solely focused on the Forest Preserves of Cook County. They are the voice of a diverse community inspiring and organizing people to protect, restore, and expand the forest preserves in Cook County. Through political advocacy, ecological stewardship, and community engagement, they ensure the forest preserves will always be a source of education, enjoyment, and recreation. Locally they are stewards of Dan Ryan Woods, working on invasive species removal and improving the trails. Donations will help fund conservation and outreach programs. Info: or contact Ilana Federman, or 312-356-9990.

Business Attire Clothing Drive. Donate new and gently used men’s and women’s business clothing through Dec. 15 at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western, weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Info: 773-445-8128 or All items benefit The Find Your Future program which helps young men and women dress for success and land that first job

Restock the Food Pantry Drive. The Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association will host a non-perishable food drive in January to help re-stock the shelves of the Maple/Morgan Park Food Pantry after the holiday season. Collection boxes will be located at various Beverly/Morgan Park businesses and monetary donations will also be accepted. Info: Caroline Connors, 773-779-2530

Know Your Neighbors: Paula Robinson

By Kristin Boza

Paula Robinson is dedicated to progressing the economic development of her community through her work with the Morgan Park Civic League. Community activism is in her blood; Robinson’s grandmother, Annabelle Robinson, was also an active participant in the Morgan Park Civic League, which has been working to improve and enhance Morgan Park since 1937.

Robinson’s community involvement isn’t limited to Morgan Park. She, and the rest of the Civic League, recognizes the impact each south side neighborhood has on one another. Community groups in West Pullman, Beverly, Bronzeville and others all collaborate to stimulate economic development and address housing and transportation issues throughout the south side.

“It’s not so much that we need to develop a lot of things here; we have a lot to offer,” Robinson said. “We focus on highlighting what we have, making connections and giving people reasons to go. Once they get the invitation to come and experience something, then it opens up a whole other level of what you can do and how you engage with people. If people don’t even know what you’ve got, then it’s not so much that we have to get a lot of new things, but we just need to figure out how to engage the community.”

Promoting the Major Taylor Trail is a big push of Robinson’s — not only to get people to use it, but to encourage companies to open businesses along the trail that runs from the Dan Ryan Woods to Whistler Woods. “On the northwest side of the city, we’ve seen the success of the 606 Trail and what it’s done to bring communities and neighborhoods together. The bike trail is a community asset and spurs more development.”

Outdoor recreation is a great way to connect communities, according to Robinson. “It’s beneficial for the whole well-being, wellness and health of a community as a whole,” she said. The Civic League is also looking for ways to partner with local artists to install art along the path. “With the tie-in with art and culture, these trails can not only be about recreation, but provide a cultural benefit to the community as well,” she said.

Besides the Major Taylor Trail, Robinson and the Morgan Park Civic League always aim to determine how to create action and excitement around things that already exist. The annual Roots Festival, a farmer’s market, and economic development along 111th Street are other focuses for the group. Robinson hopes to get a visitor’s center up and running on 111th Street to alert people going to the Pullman National Monument about other things to do in the area — including grabbing a steak sandwich at the famed Home of the Hoagy, 1316 W. 111th St., and enjoying a cup of coffee at the Old Morgan Park Coffee Shop at 111th and Loomis.

“We have a lot of wonderful history for people to see, a beautiful bike trail and other amenities that are interesting to visitors and residents alike,” Robinson said. “Morgan Park is an older community, and we have to identify new housing and new opportunities to attract younger people who will want to keep our community sustainable.”

To find out more or to get involved, visit the Morgan Park Civic League on Facebook.

BAPA History: Planning for a Stronger Community

By Charles Shanabruch

In 1980, the Beverly Area Planning Association’s stated mission was to sustain the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood as a “quality, stable, integrated community.” Sociologists had projected that the area would follow the pattern of resegregation that had been characteristic of the South Side. The challenge to maintain integration was sensed by most of the community’s 40,000 residents.

Fortunately, Pat Stanton’s call to reinvigorate BAPA in 1971 had made a critical difference. Rather than the “a total lack of planning” that often occurs in communities where individual interests take precedent over the common interests, this community was engaged in “total planning” making sure every facet of life was attended to.

From 1980 to 1985, I was executive director of BAPA. It was a daunting assignment and has been the highlight of my professional career. Through the efforts of BAPA’s dedicated and creative board members and staff, committed elected officials, and more than a thousand generous volunteers, we made good on the promise of “total planning.”

At the time, the community’s greatest challenges came from the issues regarding schools, public safety, community building, and unfair housing practices. On each of these interconnected issues BAPA gathered the support of civic associations, churches and local businesses.


The educational excellence of local schools was essential. However, this was threatened as many families with public school students left the community and those families who stayed feared that the Chicago Board of Education’s mandate to desegregate neighborhood schools would lead to busing and the closure of low enrollment schools.

BAPA met the challenge head on. An education committee composed of eight public school parents and led by Barb Vick (for whom the Vick School is named) sought to make each public elementary school attractive and unique so current parents would want to keep their kids enrolled and ne families would choose them.

Numerous meetings with Board of Ed officials, PTAs and parents led to plan proposing that Vanderpoel, Barnard, Clissold and Kellogg become magnet schools and special 7th and 8th grade programs be created at Morgan Park High School. BAPA convinced the Board of Ed that our community could be a city-wide model. With full community support the plan was adopted and the schools thrived.

Public Safety

In the 1980s, when the Chicago Police Department proposed closing several stations, including the 22nd District, BAPA led the fight to keep the station open. Using its civic association networks and block representatives, BAPA flooded the community with petitions. In only four days almost 18,000 signatures were gathered. BAPA delivered the petitions when it testified at a special committee hearing at City Hall. The testimony included BAPA’s promise of more community action. In fact, BAPA had purchased 12,000 yards of CPD-blue plastic ribbon to be tied on every light post in the community until our station was no longer hostage to the “efficiency” plan. Fortunately, the ribbons were never used. (I still have a 100 yard roll in my home office as a reminder of the community’s successful fight for the station.)


Communication is a critical element in mobilizing community action, but it was just as important in BAPA’s goal of building a sense of “a village in the city.” In Sept. 1980, BAPA replaced its quarterly newsletter with The Villager. Monthly 15,000 copies were distributed free to every residence and hundreds more were dropped at the train stations for commuters to read on their way to work. Its purpose was to keep the community informed, promote engagement, support local businesses and our schools and ensure that BAPA’s perspective was clearly portrayed on issues.

Another very important initiative was the Neighborhood Involvement Program. BAPA identified residents on nearly every block to “NIP” problems in the bud. They were the community’s eyes and ears who called BAPA identifying problems or opportunities to enhance community quality.


The biggest challenge facing Beverly/Morgan Park was unfair housing practices. Chicago’s history of racial discrimination and segregation threatened BAPA’s mission to sustain a stable integrated community. The real estate market did not provide free and open access to information. Realtors steered blacks to areas where blacks and whites lived and whites to areas that were predominantly white thus creating segregated communities.

BAPA addressed the dual housing market through education and litigation. Numerous block meetings were held to discuss issues of racial change directly and openly with whites and blacks together. BAPA also tried to persuade realtors to obey fair housing laws that had been put in place in the 1960s.

Realtors seeking to accelerate racial change used for sale signs and unsolicited calls to ask people to list their homes for sale as the tools of panic peddling. BAPA supported a ban on for sale signs and also secured signatures on anti-solicitation letters from home owners then served lists of the residents to dozens of real estate offices; when signers were solicited BAPA got the States Attorney to investigate cases and file lawsuits.

Despite these initiatives, racial steering persisted. BAPA realized that until all communities were open those that were integrated would be threatened by the injustice of steering. For this reason, BAPA partnered with the Leadership Council of Metropolitan Open Communities to “test” real estate offices. Matched couples of white and black were trained and then went to real estate offices to see whether each couple received the same real estate listings. When blacks were given only information about integrated neighborhoods and whites were given listings in nearly all white communities, the law was broken.

In Nov. 1983, BAPA filed four law suits in Federal court charging discriminatory real estate practices. BAPA lost the first case brought to trial but the other suits ended in settlements. Most importantly, BAPA’s initiative gave notice to all realtors that racial steering would not be tolerated.

BAPA’s President, Rich Andersen, constantly reminded staff, “Good things do not happen by chance.” Very intentionally, BAPA paid attention to details and the big picture so the community thrived.