West Garfield Park program helps young men build a brighter future

By Josephine Chu
Medill Reports

The life expectancy in West Garfield Park is 16 years shorter than that of Chicago’s downtown area, making it the lowest in the city. One organization at New Mount Pilgrim Church is trying to help young men avoid the drugs and gun violence that threaten young lives in the community.

The MAAFA Redemption Project is a 9-month long program for high-risk men in West Garfield Park ages 18 to 30. Through mentoring, academic education and a range of social services, the program invests in their future lives and careers.

Photo at top: Michael Simmons and Quentin Harris, members of the MAAFA Redemption Project, renovate a bathroom in an abandoned house in West Garfield Park. (Josephine Chu/MEDILL)