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Altgeld’s New Library

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Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program class at People for Community Recovery, a not-for-profit organization based in the Altgeld Gardens public housing development.

After fighting for 10 months, Altgeld Gardens finally got a library. There is a door separating Carver Elementary School and the Altgeld Library. It is the first public library to share a Chicago Public Schools building. The library is located right across the street from the Larry Hawkins Chicago International Charter School (CICS) and Carver Primary Elementary school. The library opened April 8, 2011; at this time, it is under-going renovation to install a central air system.

Residents’ Journal interviewed Shante Jackson, the children’s library associate, and Jackson said the library had to close on

The interior of the new library in the Altgeld Gardens community. Photo by Alisha Jacobs.

several of the hottest days of the summer. “We close based on the temperature outside. If it’s too hot, we use a fan or we shut the library down,” Jackson said. “The library is very important to the community. Altgeld needs it more now because there are more residents and schools in the community.”

The library has free wireless internet and 30 computer stations, 20 for children and 10 for adults. There were 25 residents in the library at the time of the RJ interview. Residents were at the computers, searching for books and checking out books. The library is a heavily utilized place in Altgeld.

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How to Deal with the Next Heat Wave

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Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program class at People for Community Recovery, a not-for-profit organization based in the Altgeld Gardens public housing development.

This July, Chicago battled extreme heat. But what exactly is a heat wave? A heat wave is caused when a large mass of hot air stays over an area. Chicago hasn’t had a heat wave advisory since 1996, when there were about 750 heat-related deaths over a period of 5 days. There are heat warnings in over 36 states, so we’re not alone. Most places have reached triple digits repeatedly, according to ABC news. The extreme heat left over 150 million people around the country trying to find relief in any place possible.

Most people don’t know that elevated temperatures are a public health threat that leads to a considerable number of deaths. Every year a lot of people are hospitalized or die due to exposure to high temperatures. An average of 400 deaths are annually counted as heat-related in people who are 65 years and older. Elderly people should make sure their temperature doesn’t rise above 102 degrees, because the condition can quickly lead to heat stroke, according to USA Today. We have to make sure we keep an eye on elderly family members and friends. Seniors are more vulnerable to the heat because their body does not contain as much water as young people.

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A Dream Come True

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Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program class at People for Community Recovery, a not-for-profit organization based in the Altgeld Gardens public housing development. In April 2011, youths from People for Community Recovery traveled to France as part of a photography exchange program with youths from La Courneuve, a community near Paris.

Paris. France. It was something like a dream come true. On Wednesday, April 13, 2011, it was also boring because we arrived too early and had to wait in the small, hot and muggy office of People for Community Recovery filled with over 15 bags and 10 people. After greeting everyone and hugging our family members, our limos arrived. I was filled with mixed emotions. Getting in the limo to the airport I was happy but yet a little sad. I was leaving family and friends. I was thinking of everything that could go wrong as I sat quietly the whole ride. I and the other children and our chaperone and Takia Long took pictures of the whole ride.

Students from Altgeld Gardens pose with their French counterparts.

I had a chill going through my spine getting out of the car at O’Hare Airport. It was a long, tedious process checking in and going through the security measures, but I was patient. I bought a lot of candy since the security said we couldn’t go through with any food or water because of all the terrorist attempts, but all this really made me feel very safe. We arrived very early so if anything went wrong we would have time to spare. Me, Manquaze (my brother), Lakeshia (a 17-year-old participant in the An Eye for An Eye program) and Hollis (brother of Lakeshia, another participant of An Eye for An Eye) played Uno anxiously waiting to board the plane.

Finally about 45 minutes later, we grabbed all of our bags. I couldn’t help but have butterflies in my stomach. We boarded a big white and blue plane with that read “Air France” on the side. The flight attendants greeted us in French, which kind of made me happy, because I knew that I could respond. I put all my bags up in storage. Then, about 15 minutes later, we finally started to move. The best part of the air plane ride was taking off because it was like a roller coaster; I love roller coasters. It was hard trying to force myself to go to sleep knowing I was thousands of feet in the air. The flight was 6 hours. We had made it to the airport around 5 that evening and made it to Paris around 1:30 a.m. I had stayed up during the flight because I was watching movies and talking to the other children in the program. Plus I was too scared I would miss something. Most of the children didn’t go to sleep just as I didn’t. We woke the adult chaperones so we could get off the plane.

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Altgeld Gardens Dentist

by  Youth Reporter from Altgeld Gardens

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

What do you think of when you are sitting in a dentist’s waiting room? Terror? Fear? Anxiety?

The first thing I think of when I envision a dentist is a big, rude, muscular and ugly person, man or woman, who wants to drill or yank out your teeth with a pair of pliers or other weird tools—that is, until I woke up to reality and overcame my fears, which I found to be all untrue.

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