Future Ties, led by Chicago Police Officer Jennifer Maddox, has room for 40 children at a time in its basement center in Parkway Gardens. The after-school program provides services to a total of 1,200 children.
“We had to turn away so many young people who never had the opportunity to be a part of Future Ties,” she said of her 11-year-old organization. “Some of these young people that we lost to gun violence. If we had had room, we might have been able to save their lives. Maybe we could have changed their trajectory somehow.
Maddox’s dream of a bigger space for Future Ties was spurred on by the Beachbody Foundation and the GO Campaign, which pledged $ 1 million to help turn an old Walgreens store at 6330 S. King Drive into a new home. for Future Ties.
“We struggled because we didn’t have enough space here,” Maddox said. “And it is difficult for many children to get out of the neighborhood and cross the boundaries of gang territory.”
Maddox envisions the 25,000 square foot space including a teenage center, space for parent programs, space for its hair salon program, a larger kitchen, and a place for kids to run around inside. .
“I have a lot of depressed teens and kids because there is nothing in this community for them to really enjoy or access when it comes to programming or recreation,” Maddox said. “It will open a lot of doors for them and their families. ”
Woodlawn residents plan to ring the bells Monday morning outside the old Walgreens as Beachbody Co., a Santa Monica, Calif., Based fitness and wellness company goes public.
When Beachbody Co. decided to go public, it decided to help out a community organization with similar interests. The GO campaign suggested Future Ties.
Future Ties tackles childhood obesity by teaching good nutrition and physical activity and providing healthy meals and snacks to children participating in the program.
“It’s the exact embodiment of what Beachbody has been for 20 years – helping people get active, educate themselves about nutrition and make them feel like there is a community that cares. help succeed, ”said Carl Daikeler, CEO of Beachbody.
Future Ties’ larger space will also allow offices to provide services such as mental health counseling, financial literacy classes, access to legal services and help with housing issues.
Due to gun violence in their neighborhood, Maddox stressed the need for accessible mental health services.
“A few social service agencies are here to work with us because they know traumatic incidents happen here on a daily basis,” Maddox said. “They don’t just affect parents, but children. It’s just a trickle down effect.
The new center will be able to accommodate over 100 children at a time, and Maddox has already heard the enthusiasm of Woodlawn families for the new space.
She hopes the new location will be ready for use by the start of the school year this fall.
“I feel so blessed and so grateful,” Maddox said. “They [Beachbody] are committed to ensuring that families have the resources and the opportunities.