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Englewood Organization Prepares for Youth Enrichment Program

By Wendell Hutson | October 9, 2013 7:51am
 A free enrichment program in Englewood begins Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.
A free enrichment program in Englewood begins Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.
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DNAinfo/Wendell Hutson

ENGLEWOOD —The Beloved Community Family Services Inc., a nonprofit organization founded by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st), will start its fall session of the Bridge Academy Enrichment Program for youths on Saturday.

The free program for youths ages 6-13 meets from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday until Dec. 14 at the organization's office at 6430 S. Harvard St. Among the things youths learn are chess, creative arts, creative writing, digital media and nutrition. The program is also offered during the winter, spring and summer. Breakfast and lunch are included.

The program is described by Lahesha Williams, director of the organization, as a safe haven for young people.

"The Bridge Academy offers a creative learning space for youth by challenging them in the areas of academics, physical fitness training, health & nutrition, team building and social skill enhancement, while offering the opportunity for individual artistic expression," Williams said.

She contends that while there are plenty of Englewood organizations that provide youth programs, more are needed.

"The Greater Englewood community has several community-based organizations, most which are small in size and do not have a large capacity to service the needs of youth and teens in the community," Williams said. "Combined, most of these organizations work in collaboration to ensure that youth and families receive the services they need."

In addition, Beloved Community Family Services offers health education and substance abuse intervention and prevention, youth development and after-school programs.

Rush, who is also pastor of Beloved Community Christian Church in Englewood, said he is worried that if the government shutdown lingers on it could hurt federal grants for needy nonprofits.