Friday, November 12, 2010

Al Raby students volunteer to work in the Fulton Community Garden.   

The City of Chicago renames the categories and changes the rules, but Sam and Angela Taylor keep winning the City of Chicago Garden Contest, part of Mayor Daley’s Landscape Awards program. This year, the Taylors won 3rd Place in the Citywide Vegetable Garden category. They were presented their award at a ceremony November 6 at the Hyatt Regency.
    Sam and Angela have been tending their garden at 4427 West Fulton for seven years. The combination flower and vegetable garden comprises two city lots. Their garden has truly become a community project as the Taylors invite neighbors, local children, students from nearby Al Raby High School and the Neighborhood Youth Garden Corps of East Garfield Park to tend plots in the garden.
    The Taylors are serving as community consultants to the Garfield Park Conservatory, providing advice and assistance to block clubs and residents seeking to start community gardens. The Taylors are also working with an agency opening a restaurant with a training component for unemployed persons wanting to enter the culinary industry to learn and earn at the same time. Sam and Angela are helping establish a garden adjacent to the restaurant that will provide homegrown crops for the menu.

 The Neighborhood Youth Garden Corps of East Garfield Park at work in the Fulton Community Garden.
 Sam & Angela Taylor are surprised with a cake by friends & well-wishers at the Fulton Garden.
 Angela & friends look at cabbage plants.
Angela Taylor happily provides tips to visitors at her Fulton Community Garden.
 Mike Tomas of the Garfield Park Conservatory and Ald. Ed Smith pay a visit to the Taylors’ Fulton Street Community Garden.
 Sam & Angela Taylor enjoy giving away much of their community garden’s bumper crop to neighbors. They have also taken up canning vegetables for use year-round.
A junior gardener enjoys the floral beauty of the Community Garden at 4427 W. Fulton.

Building Organizations That Work:

Ten Basic Steps to Creating A Nonprofit Organization
by Valerie F. Leonard
Community Development Consultant

1.    Recruit Board of Directors
2.    Develop By-Laws
3.    Prepare Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation
4.    Secure Tax Identification Number
5.    File With IDES (If you plan to hire employees)
6.    File Articles of Incorporation with Secretary of State's Office
7.    File Articles with Recorder of Deeds
8.    File Application for Federal Income Tax Exemption
9.    File With Attorney General's Office
10.    File for State Sales Tax Exemption

Valerie F. Leonard is a Chicago-based community development consultant, with a mission to strengthen the capacity of organizations to make a positive impact on the communities they serve through technical assistance, specialized workshops, resource and organizational development and project management. For further information, you may call Ms. Leonard at 773-521-3137, visit or e-mail her at


    Thomas Simmons, West Side community activist, political strategist, and career service employee for the City of Chicago, has joined a large and growing field of candidates running for alderman of the 29th ward. Simmons is a native Chicagoan, raised on the West Side, the fourth of six children.
    He began work with the city as a Case Manager/Family Service Specialist, providing emergency aid to the elderly and homeless. He rose to the level of Deputy Commissioner of General Services before retiring after a 33-year career.
    Simmons is a product of the Chicago Public Schools, having graduated from John Marshall High School. He earned an Associate Degree from Robert Morris College and received a B.A. Degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
    Simmons founded Citizens For A Better Westside and serves as its Chairman. He is Vice President of Concern Organization Who Cares, is a member of the Amundsen Park Advisory Council, and participates in CAPS Beat 2513.
    According to Simmons, the paramount issues in the 29th ward are reducing the incidences of crime, improving the quality of schools, and positioning the ward for economic development and positive growth.
    Simmons and his organizations host a popular Back-To-School Gospel Fest each year providing over 700 local students with school supplies. He presents an annual Thanksgiving Harvest Feast for more than 400 neighborhood residents. Thomas also holds an annual Expungement Information Summit, Mortgage Information Fairs, and other community service events.
    Thomas Simmons declares that his philosophy is “Hands Up, Hands Under, and Hands On.” Hands Up – Uplifting all citizens; Hands Under – Supporting all citizens; and Hands On – Working to make a difference for all citizens.
    Thomas Simmons is seeking volunteers for his campaign. Persons may visit his headquarters at 5900 West North Avenue, call 773/745-8380, or e-mail him at His website is


Mary Johnson Volpe lived all her life and raised her children in the same house on Kamerling Avenue in Austin. She was a proud and outspoken advocate for Chicago’s far West Side and she worked tirelessly to ensure that its residents received the respect and the quality of services they deserved. This was especially true as the racial composition of her community changed and city services deteriorated.
Mary Volpe died October 5 of a heart attack in her Austin home. She was 78 years old.
Volpe was a community activist with absolutely no patience for injustice, government corruption, ineffectual politicians, or dirty cops. Trained by Sol Aulinsky, she proudly wore the title “organizer.” She was an active member of Organization for a Better Austin and went on to lead Northeast Austin Organization from 1972 until 2001 from her office in the rectory of St. Peter Canisius Catholic Church on North Avenue. She was on the front lines of the legislative battles against block busting, real estate and insurance redlining, and was prominent in the effort creating the Neighborhood Reinvestment Act requiring banks to write mortgages and make loans in the communities they serve.
Volpe trained residents to create block clubs, fought prostitution, street gangs, and drug dealing. She worked to carve out the 25th police district and served on its Steering Committee for a quarter century. She fought to keep St. Anne’s Hospital open and North Avenue strip joints and liquor stores closed.
She helped launch the city’s Beat Rep and CAPS programs, served for years on the city’s Community Development Block Grant board and as an active member of IVI-IPO. Volpe worked to improve Austin’s schools, fought the proliferation of pay telephones used by drug dealers, and established programs to help ex-offenders obtain education and jobs. Every politician knew her and many feared her when she showed up at their doors with her jaw set for confrontation.
Mary Volpe helped launch CEDA and LI-HEAP. She worked for expanded library services, fought police corruption in the 15th and 25th districts, while demanding adequate police patrols in neighborhoods of Northeast Austin. She is responsible for many community improvements credited to others who did far less.
Through it all, Mary Volpe was a historian of West Side life and ultimately became an important part of West Side history.
“Mary Volpe was a giant,” declares Brad Cummings, Associate Editor of THE VOICE Newspapers. “She was a strong and loyal friend personally and to her community. She helped found THE AUSTIN VOICE Newspaper and actively crusaded for everything that was good for Austin. There are far too few people like her and she will be greatly missed.”
Volpe has three children: Reverend Gina Volpe, an Episcopal priest; a son Peter; and daughter Michelle Bardachowski.

How to Get a Temporary Job Over the Holidays Tom Joyce, Better Business Bureau Serving Chicago & Northern Illinois

Chicago, IL November 9, 2010 - Job hunters may get an early present this year as retailers look to increase the number of hires during the holiday season. Competition for these jobs will likely be fierce, and the Better Business Bureau recommends applying early and taking steps to put your best foot forward.
“The holiday season will create a much welcome bump in the number of job openings, particularly in the retail and restaurant industry,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “While the jobs are usually temporary, this is great news for struggling families and people who have had problems finding work.”
The BBB offers the following tips for job hunters this holiday season:
Start the job search
earlier rather than later.
The key to landing a seasonal job is to start searching early. Retail, shipping, restaurants and catering companies are common sources of seasonal employment. Now is the time for job hunters to determine which job suits them best, identify companies they’d like to work for and then begin submitting applications and resumes. 
Research the companies to which you submit job applications.
Always check out the company’s BBB Business Review for free at to see if the company has received a passing grade from the BBB. Also never give your credit card or checking account information to an individual or business that promises employment. Legitimate employers never charge fees to prospective employees.  
Work where you shop.
Try to identify seasonal employment with businesses you actually shop at or frequent. You will already be familiar with the company and its products and, secondly, discounts available for employees may mean significant savings when shopping for Christmas gifts.
Put your best foot forward.
Even if you are just picking up an application at stores in the mall, dress your best and be prepared for an interview. This includes being familiar with the company’s brand and its products. Retail job hunters in particular need to focus on impressing potential employers with their customer service skills-which is a must when dealing with stressed-out shoppers, long check-out lines and day-after-Christmas returns.  
Be flexible.

Full-time employees usually have first dibs on the preferred hours and shifts, so, as a seasonal employee, expect to work long, sometimes inconvenient hours including working on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. If this is a second job in addition to your day job, be upfront and clear with your new employer about your available hours.

For more holiday tips, visit

Tom Joyce 312.245.2643;


The Taylor family and friends recently hosted Stepping Out In Pink, a gala celebration raising funds promoting breast cancer awareness and saluting survivors. Angela and Sam Taylor are probably best known for their award-winning gardens on Fulton Street in West Garfield Park, but they are individuals of boundless energy and tremendous commitment to building a healthy community. This brought them to join the crusade against breast cancer and the drive to get every woman at risk tested.
Six survivors participated in a Pin-A-Sister ceremony at the gala, affixing pink ribbons to women attending the event and urging them to get tested for breast cancer. Funds raised from Stepping Out In Pink were contributed to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.