May 2023 NewsletterRead Now
Claretian Associates is highlighting Sherman Morisette and Shirley Burgess Morisette, a couple who have been utilizing the SALUD Fitness Center for over four months. “Sherman and Shirley motivate and support each other in their effort to get fit,” said Health and Wellness Coordinator Maurice Garrett.
Sherman is a faithful client of Maurice Garrett, Health and Wellness Coordinator for the SALUD Fitness Center. “He was my first client,” said Maurice. As a resident at South Chicago SALUD Center, Sherman first heard about the fitness center after receiving a flyer. “I enjoy the Peloton bikes, treadmill, and weights. They are all great benefits,” said Sherman.
Sherman invited Shirley to start exercising with him at the fitness center. “She was hesitant at first, but she enjoyed working out with Maurice,” said Sherman. He wanted Shirley to get away from her everyday routine and do something relaxing for herself.
Sherman and Shirley participate in the morning senior exercise class. “What motivated me to exercise was my husband, Sherman,” said Shirley. What also motivated Shirley to join her husband in exercising was her health. “I have high blood pressure and stage three kidney failure. I was on the borderline of being a diabetic,” said Shirley. Sherman told Shirley exercising together was not going to be hard. “I went down to the gym; I met Maurice and recognized some people. Now it's like my second home,” said Shirley.
Since exercising at the fitness center, Shirley does not feel as stressed as before and her blood pressure has lowered too. “At the age of 71, exercising is really helping,” said Shirley. Sherman and Shirley have built new friendships while attending the fitness center. “You meet new friends, you are encouraged, motivated and you feel stress-free. I would recommend this 120% to anybody,” said Shirley.
Sherman not only exercises with the seniors in the mornings, but he also participates in the bootcamp on Thursdays at 5:30 pm. Sherman has been exercising for a decade and utilizing the fitness center has helped him with mobility and flexibility.
Sherman and Shirley credit Maurice for their health improvements. “We have one of the best instructors and we are very fortunate to have him as a trainer,” said Sherman. Maurice is a personal fitness trainer, certified spin instructor, and nutritionist.
Shirley likes to exercise on the treadmill, bikes, and the stepper. “When I’m on the bike, I’m talking to the ladies, and I forget that I’m exercising,” said Shirley. The seniors can join the senior exercise class Monday through Thursday at 11 am.
Communities Partnering 4 Peace Light in the Night
CP4P will have a series of Light in the Night events this Spring and Summer. Light in the Nights are events where the CP4P team will provide a safe space for the community, with games, music, food, and more. Light in the Night events are held in public spaces and sometimes near hotspots. Case Managers are present with resources for the community. The next Light in the Night events will be on Friday, May 26 on 78th & Saginaw and Saturday, May 27, on 75th & Coles.
Join us for a community meeting on the status update of SACRED (Sustainable Affordable Commercial Real Estate Development) on Thursday, June 1, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the SALUD Center. SACRED will be 78 units of affordable housing located on the southwest corner of East 92nd Street and South Burley Avenue.
Join us for the Fitness Center Kickoff on Thursday, June 1, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the SALUD Center. There will be music and raffles. For more information, contact April Morris at email@example.com
Chat and Chew
Join the South Chicago Neighborhood Network and community partners for a Chat and Chew, a conversation on Human Trafficking Wednesday, June 14 from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. Register here.
Meeting with the Alderman Peter Chico
Uniting Our Voice, Our Vote, Our Power Coalition held a meeting at the SALUD Center with the new 10th Ward Alderman Peter Chico. The Coalition, who organized the local 10th ward nonpartisan forums, introduced the alderman to their organizations and presented their work.
The Coalition updated Alderman Chico on their work. “We wanted to introduce the new alderperson to this amazing network of community members that each do their best and do one of many parts of the work that needs to be done in the neighborhood like South Chicago,” said Crystal Vance Guerra, Program Manager of Special Service Area 5.
The Coalition now has established a monthly meeting with Alderman Chico to keep him updated about their work, so that everybody can work together.
Career and Trade Fair
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network and community partners hosted a Career and Trade Fair on Thursday, May 4, 2023. Companies such as Amazon, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), and community organizations were available to answer questions about various job opportunities.
The idea for the career and trade fair was sprouted at the Metropolitan Family Services board meeting. Program Manager Tiarra Owens, who serves on the board, and its other community partners realized that nobody was applying for their job listings. “There are a lot of opportunities right here in South Chicago and many don’t know about them,” said Tiarra.
A factor that was unfolded based upon a community assessment performed by Metropolitan Family Services; South Chicago has the highest unemployment rate in the city. Some of the factors of the high unemployment rate are childcare, transportation, and not having the right attire. “From the results, we did our best to plan a career and trade fair to cater to the needs of the community members,” said Tiarra.
A clothing drive for new or gently used business clothes was organized with Claretian Associates, Metropolitan Family Services, and Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P). “We collected over 250 articles of clothing from community residents and organizations,” said Tiarra. Suits, dresses, shoes, and other items were donated. Attendees were able to check out the hiring companies and “shop” for business attire.
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network and community partners would like to thank everybody for the clothing donations. “We also want to thank all vendors because without them it isn't possible to host these community events,” said Tiarra.
New Hires at Claretian Associates
Claretian Associates welcomes Sara Calzada as the new CP4P Victim Advocate and Monique Thurman as Program Coordinator for Empowering Black Futures Initiative.
Read more about Sara’s and Monique’s experiences below.
Victim Advocate Sara Calzada
As Victim Advocate, Sara connects with the victim and the family as a whole. “We are looking to make sure they have everything they need to come back as a family after a traumatizing incident,” said Sara. Sara was a manager for 10 years in the dentistry field. Prior to starting at CP4P, Sara worked in urgent care as a manager as well. “I take pride in all my customer service. I look at everybody as an individual not as a number,” said Sara.
Sara became interested in victim advocacy because of her mother, who is a victim advocate for the Chicago Police Department. Sara sat with her mother during a victims’ consultation and was amazed at how her mother cared for the victim who had lost her son to gun violence. “I felt like my mom had her back. That was everything to me. I called her a superhero after that,” said Sara.
After sitting in the victim's compensation, Sara wanted to help and learn more. “The fact that this mom is grieving for a child, and I have children, it kind of hit home.” Sara learned about the qualifications for being a victim advocate from her mother and did her research as well.
Sara received a call from her mother about the CP4P victim advocate position. “I took the leap of faith,” said Sara. Since Sara started with CP4P, she has connected the team with her alma mater No Adults Left Behind Educational High School. This connection now serves as a resource for CP4P participants.
Sara hopes to bring more collaboration at CP4P and be a light at the end of the tunnel, “Going into areas that have been forgotten and showing that we care,” said Sara.
EBA Program Coordinator Monique Thurman
The EBA Program Coordinator is a newly created position at Claretian Associates in partnership with Fifth Third Bank. The EBA Program is designed to promote prosperous black-owned businesses. “Part of the initiative is to revitalize Commercial Avenue, to assist business store owners in growing their businesses or to open a business in the community,” said Monique. One of the goals of the EBF Program is to create more equitable connected systems.
Monique is working on getting a memorandum of understanding signed with all the partners. “It's a document that keeps everybody on the same page with respect to the EBF Initiative. It will highlight what partners will bring to the table with the expectations of being able to fulfill the obligations to the Black community,” said Monique. Monique is also working on an event aimed at fixing credit. The event will focus on helping individuals with credit building, offering credit counseling, and more.
Monique worked for Lurie Children's Hospital for over 15 years. Monique was a program coordinator for the City of Country Club Hills and worked for their police department. Later, Monique was asked by the Mayor of Country Club Hills to return to her formal position as program coordinator.
Prior to starting at Claretian Associates, Monique worked as a program coordinator at a domestic violence shelter. Monique is also an entrepreneur; she has her own catering business. Monique earned her bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship and has a master's in educational leadership.
Monique wants to bring a sense of relatability. “I can relate to some barriers that the community members are going through, such as wanting to be a homeowner,” said Monique. For more information the on EBF program contact Monique at firstname.lastname@example.org.