Peggy Zabicki

Peggy Zabicki

The young are often our brightest light

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By Peggy Zabicki

Your correspondent in West Lawn

3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327

As summer approaches, we face the discouraging reality of what our neighborhood and our city have become. Carjackings, shootings, dangerous drag racers, assaults and robberies happen every single day. Will things get worse as the weather gets warmer? It is hard to stay positive. Much of the crimes are committed by misguided young people. So many of our youth have chosen to join violent gangs.

A bright light in all this continues to be the young people who have chosen to contribute to our neighborhood in a positive way. Last week, I mentioned the ASTRRONGU youth group. They had a peace walk at West Lawn Park and spread a positive message of hope.

PeggyZabicki

Peggy Zabicki

My friend Elaine’s granddaughter, Anissa, has worked hard to be a top student earning all As. She graduates in June from a South Side grammar school that is located in a high-crime area. Anissa has chosen to focus on her studies. She also volunteers at the Calvary Lutheran Senior Club once a month.

A friend of mine has a family member who is a member of the Curie High School dance troop, Ubuntu. The word ubuntu means a belief that we are defined by our compassion and kindness toward one another. The Ubuntu dancers recently presented a recital that expressed their uplifting philosophy. The dancers put in hours of work and used their energy in a positive and creative way.

I also want to mention the members of the Curie High School softball team, who played at a softball program sponsored by the Chicago Cubs for the deaf and hard of hearing. The Curie Condors came in second place at a four-team, round robin event. Living with hearing challenges has not stopped this hard-working team from doing their best.

I’d like to thank all the students at St. Mary Star of the Sea School for collecting more than $17,000 and donating this money to a program for Ukrainian refugee children. These children were forced to flee their homeland, and many have come here without their parents. The generosity and efforts of St. Mary Star of the Sea students provided clothing, food and shelter.

A young friend of mine named Layla continues to be a shining star in my own life. She and her dear baby brother, Tommy, make me smile and laugh. Last week, Layla and I played with paper airplanes, throwing them back and forth as Tommy napped through the whole thing. I completely forgot about what is wrong with the world as I played with the kids. How can you worry when you are playing with children?

Layla is a first grader at St. Nicholas of Tolentine School. Her class went on a field trip to Lincoln Park Zoo last week. Thank you to her teacher and the parents for putting this trip together. This is just the kind of activity that sparks curiosity and inspires learning. Layla told me she’d like to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

You are only young once, as the saying goes. I hang onto the hope that the youngest members of our neighborhood will choose the right path.

I am so thankful for the youngsters who work hard at school and at overcoming challenges. I’m thankful that they express positive creativity, do volunteer work and show compassion and charity. Their actions reassure us that  everything will be OK.

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