Firehouse Community Arts Center....
In a neighborhood where many
believe violence often over-shadows opportunity, one
group is giving North Lawndale teens a place to call
New Plans for Old an Firehouse...
For years, the spot was home to the
Chicago Fire Department's Engine 38. Today, the Lawndale
Christian Community Church is hoping the place will help
rescue a generation of youngsters.
"The Firehouse will be a great way
to mentor students from this community and also Little
Village and to really build relationships with them and
to help them discover their gifts," said Terence
Gadsden, youth pastor, Lawndale Community Church.
The plan is to turn a fire station
-- complete with its holes in the ceiling, cracked walls
and corroded fixtures -- into a community arts center.
Pastor Phil Jackson, whose
"hip-hop" church services attract hundreds of teens each
month -- says the idea was a natural next step.
"This idea was born by way of the
students not being able to do anything or even have
access to stretch their potential," said Pastor Jackson.
"We want to teach students how to do web design, graphic
arts and video editing so they can now take a skill and
all of these skills will help students be more
marketable whether they go off to college or they have
certifications in certain areas so they can go out and
actually go out and start working."
Despite the building's current
condition, organizers already have pictures of their
goal in mind: a state-of-the-art kitchen to teach
culinary arts, a dance studio, a graphic arts center and
photo lab. This damp basement is slated to house a music
"I think this will be a great
opportunity for them to come and feel love and also
learn about culinary, dance and music production and be
mentored at the same time," said Gadsden.
Despite the uphill battle they face
in raising funds, organizers deem the $700,000 price tag
to renovate the building and hire staff "worth it" to
achieve the dream.
"Really it's just grassroots. If
you've got ten dollars and you can contribute that and
make it happen, that's where we're at. If you've got
skills to help us build a recording studio, bring that,"
said Pastor Jackson.
The Firehouse Community Arts Center
is slated to open in September 2008.
For more information Contact:
Associate Pastor of Lawndale Community Church
Pastor of The House Covenant Church
Founder / Organizational President of The Firehouse
Community Arts Center