By Kristin Boza
Last month, Gary Jenkins joined BAPA’s core team as the new Education and Safety Program Coordinator. In this role, Jenkins will be a resource for local schools and parents, as well as work with the 22nd District Police and 19th Ward Office to promote neighborhood safety initiatives.
Jenkins has lived with his wife Sharon in the neighborhood for over 15 years and they have been married for nearly 19 years. Sharon is a South Side Chicago native but Jenkins is a New York City native, born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx.
His background as an investigator for CPS and the Inspector General’s office, as well as a community leader has primed him to take on this new role. He is entering his second term as president of the Vanderpoel Improvement Association (VIA), and has served as the CAPS Beat Facilitator for Beat 2213 for the last 10 years. Knowing the ins and outs of the public school system allows him to knowledgeably develop key relationships with local public and private school principals and LSC groups.
“I have a vast institutional knowledge of CPS, particularly when it comes to how parents, businesses and the community work with CPS,” he said. “With almost 40 years of work experience, I’ve worked with many different people in different environments and learned valuable ways to communicate with a variety of people.”
BAPA’s initiatives to engage younger families in the Beverly/Morgan Park communities is integral to ensuring steady community support. Jenkins says he is looking forward to working with this population when it comes to questions about area schools and personal safety.
As he begins his tenure at BAPA, Jenkins will be building relationships to find out what types of support schools need and how BAPA can help. He will also work with the safety committee to ensure it is a viable and long-lasting resource for the community.
“I’m looking forward to getting out in the neighborhood and introducing myself. My goals are simple: to get out there and do good things,” Jenkins said. “I’ve been working in this community since we moved here and BAPA is a natural fit for me to expand my reach.”