Friday, October 21, 2011


Myra J. Sampson, Exec. Dir./Principal of Community Christian Academy, 1231 S. Pulaski Rd., is presented with the Comcast Outstanding Achievement in Education Award from 24th Ward Alderman Michael Chandler, surrounded by students. The award was announced in June at THE VOICE Newspapers’ 2nd Annual West Side Community Builders Awards Luncheon. The outstanding specialty & alternative high school has been operating for 33 years and has 180 students enrolled. For information on course offerings & registration, call 773/262-2272. (Photo by Brad)

The 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, Bev Cooper, host & producer of Cooper’s Corner, interviewed Trina Janes, a Peace Corps volunteer who served in Morocco from 1991-1994, and Northwestern Univ. grad. Courtney Sharpe, who served in Morocco from 2009-2011. The Peace Corps was launched in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy and more than 200,000 Americans have served as volunteers in 139 countries.


This year’s Illinois State Prevention Bowl filled the US Cellular Field Conference Center with 80 excited 7th & 8th grade students from 20 Chicagoland schools preparing to compete against each other by displaying their knowledge about HIV & AIDS physiology and prevention techniques, effects of drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse, methods of anger management & peaceful conflict resolution. Produced by The Prevention Partnership, Inc., the state’s acclaimed educational clearinghouse on effective methods for preventing unhealthy lifestyle choices, the event grows larger and includes more schools each year. Principal sponsors include: the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Community Health & Prevention; Walmart; Mayor Deyon L. Dean & the Village of Riverdale; A.L. Bates Consulting; Larry Williams, State Farm Insurance agent; Chicago Alderman Emma Mitts; U.S. Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), Faith & Community-based Support Initiative; Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC); Cook County Department of Public Health; Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.-Iota Phi Sigma Graduate Chapter; MazeJac Enterprises; Prevention First, Inc.; Midwest Music Machine; and International Business Machines (IBM).
The competing middle school students have been studying the topics all year long and are ready to press the buzzers to ring in with the right answers in this high-pressure game show format. Watching and cheering them on are teachers, parents, and celebrity guests from the worlds of sports, show business, and politics. Present at this year’s Prevention Bowl are Victor Adeyanju of the Cincinnati Bengals; Khalil Bell of the Chicago Bears; Leonard “GLC” Harris, GOOD Music Recording artist; and Nevermore, popular member of Crucial Conflict recording group.
The day started with words of encouragement. Recording artist GLC told the students, “You are not just the future, you are the present!”
Albert Orsello, CEO of The Prevention Partnership, told the students, “You are the ambassadors of prevention – each of you reach out to ten other people and the message will be spread.”
Nevermore of Crucial Conflict advised the young people, “The only limitations on you are the ones you place on yourself.”
Alderman Emma Mitts told them to “Dream Big,” and advised, “When you know you know, don’t let anyone tell you you don’t know what you know you know! Remember, a closed mouth never gets fed.”
News of the success of the Illinois Prevention Bowl is spreading, too. Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California are asking to be included in the competition. As the Prevention Bowl expands, it is also attracting media attention, with television networks expressing interest in broadcasting the competition. So, too, are corporate sponsors stepping up to support the young people.
For information on entering a school in the 2012 Prevention Bowl, call Adam Bates at The Prevention Partnership, Inc., 773/378-4195.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011



Brad Cummings, Associate Editor of THE VOICE Newspapers, was elected Secretary/Treasurer of the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center Community Relations Council. He is also chairing the Community Support Subcommittee. THE VOICE Newspapers have been strong promoters of the local Job Corps Center, located at 3348 South Kedzie Avenue.
    Cummings and VOICE Publisher, Isaac Jones, are responsible for bringing Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon to the Center for her first visit to the U.S. Department of Labor campus named for her father, U.S. Senator Paul Simon. They also introduced the Chicago Job Corps Center to several West Side elected officials.
    THE VOICE Newspapers serve as a site for Job Corps Graphic Design students to complete their required Work-based Learning Internship composing, laying out, and typesetting editions of the West Side’s largest circulation community newspapers. The Chicago Job Corps Center is the only one in the country offering training in Graphic Design.
    “The Paul Simon Job Corps Center is one of Chicago’s gems,” Cummings declares. “At a time when everyone is talking about jobs, the Paul Simon Job Corps Center is preparing men and women ages 16 to 24 for rewarding high-paying careers in construction trades, nursing, materials handling, computer repair, pharmacy tech, office administration, and graphic design. And, it’s all free – the training, on-campus dormitory housing, food, GED or high school diploma preparation, childcare, job placement, and free tuition at Chicago City Colleges. We need more West Siders to take advantage of this terrific program. That’s why I am happy to help get the message out.”
    Free tours of the campus are offered weekly. For information on applying for the Job Corps, call Beth Allen at 773/890-3131.
    Other officers of the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center Community Relations Council are: Ben Handy, Chairman, and Pleshette Hamb, Vice Chairperson.


Zenza Anita Laws built a 30-year career in education as a teacher and principal in West Side and South Side Chicago Catholic schools. She died after a 2-year battle with cancer on September 21.
    She began her professional career teaching 5th grade at Holy Angels Elementary School. Ms Laws returned to the West Side where she grew up to teach at St. Mel, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Martin de Porres Elementary Schools. She built a reputation as an excellent and caring teacher who challenged her students to reach their full potentials. She was also a tough but fair disciplinarian. Ms Laws was known as a dynamic and passionate teacher. Her energy in the classroom was contagious. She strove to create discussion and debate whenever possible. She had a particular love for the English language and often grilled her students on grammar and punctuation.
    Her students frequently joined her and her family on weekends for family gatherings and on family outings. In addition to teaching, Ms Laws coached volleyball and cheerleading teams, directed student plays, and organized African American heritage observances.
    After almost 20 years in the classroom, Ms Laws became an administrator. After obtaining her graduate degree, she became the Principal of the Academy of St. Benedict the African on Chicago’s South Side, and served there for ten years. Just as she was a trailblazer and motivator, she brought the same strength and leadership to her role as Principal. She led St. Benedict through years of expanded growth and improvement. She spent the last years of her career as a Principal in Forest Park.
    Zenza Anita Laws was born in Chicago on November 25, 1958, to Lois and Milton Brown. She joined United Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend Wilson Daniels, and remained an active member until her death.
    Zenza graduated from Lucy Flower Vocational High School. She earned Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Communications and Education from Rosary College. While attending college, she met and fell in love with Joseph Laws. They were married November 30, 1979. Nearly 20 years later, while teaching and raising her family, Ms Laws earned a Master of Arts Degree in Education Administration from Dominican University.
    Zen was preceded in death by her aunt, Erma Anthony, her grandmother, Ellen Ward, and her sister Yauletus Bridge. She is survived by her husband, Joseph W. Laws, Jr.; her son, Joseph W. Laws III; her two daughters, Zenita Laws and Veronique Laws; her mother, Lois Anthony Brown; her father, Milton Brown; her sisters, Paula Brownlee & Yaquala Gant (Timothy); her brothers, Yaumilton & Hesley (Angela); aunts, Willie L. Bryant, Ciritha Nathan of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Evelyn Taylor of Memphis, Tennessee, and Earsey Lottis of Fresno, California; and uncle William Brown of Memphis; plus numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, friends, and hundreds of former students who remember her fondly.
    The wake for Zenza Anita Laws is being held at 10:00 AM, Saturday, October 1, at United Baptist Church, 4242 West Roosevelt Road. Funeral service follows at 11:00 AM, with Reverend Wilson Daniels officiating. She is being buried in Oakridge Cemetery in Hillside.