Local pastor unites 10 West Side churches to launch Austin Dream Makers Mentoring Program

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By Community Editor

Courtesy Ira Acree

What: In response to Chicago's crime epidemic, Pastor Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church announces the formation of the Austin DreamMakers -- a new mentoring program that brings together leaders and members of nearly a dozen West Side churches to address the violence that is plaguing the city. Ten Austin-area churches have signed on to be involved. The program is designed to offer conflict resolution, leadership training, academic support, career development and financial literacy for youth.

"The senseless violence has destroyed the lives and dreams of our youth for far too long. The Austin DreamMakers is just one of several strategic solutions we'll be rolling out in the next several months," said Pastor Acree.

The Austin DreamMakers mentoring program will kick off at 1 pm, Saturday, March 9, at Mars Hill Baptist Church, 5916 W. Lake Street.

"Our church is honored to be a part of this collaborative initiative that will change and impact lives," said where Rev. Clarence Stowers, Pastor at Mars Hill.

Chicago's crime problem hit Pastor Acree's family directly last summer when his son was robbed at gunpoint in his neighborhood. The situation solidified his resolve to confront crime head-on. "We cannot afford to wait on the governor, the mayor, the police chief or anybody else to figure it out. It's time for the church to stand up and take its rightful place in dealing with this problem," Pastor Acree added.

Who: Austin DreamMakersis composed of faith leaders from 10 Austin area churches:

  • Pastor Steve Epting, Hope Community Church
  • Pastor Ira Acree, Greater St John Bible Church
  • Pastor Robbie Wilkerson, New Birth Christian Center
  • Pastor Reginald Bachas, Friendship Baptist Church
  • Pastor John Collins, Great True Vine Baptist Church
  • Pastor Cleophus Lee, Original Providence
  • Pastor Martin, Trinity Baptist Church
  • Pastor Clarence Stowers, Mars Hill Baptist Church
  • Pastor Matthew Miller, Rising Sun Baptist Church
  • Pastor Terence Keys,St. Rest Baptist Church

When: Saturday, March 9, 1 pm

Where: Mars Hill Baptist Church, 5916 W. Lake Street

Contacts: Pastor Ira Acree, 773-339-8590

Reader Comments

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Rudy from Chicago  

Posted: March 9th, 2015 5:09 PM

Quinn would have done the same.

Larry from Chicago  

Posted: March 8th, 2015 9:39 PM

Really!? The "church" is finally doing something for the communities that they have drained of resources for decades. I will believe it when I see it. If anything; they are hoping to receive some kind of grant money for this "effort" from Rauner who, by the way, is cutting funds for these programs. Oh wait, Acree supported Rauner! I wonder how many of Acree's congregation (or their families) need the child care that Rauner is cutting! Doesn't matter, Acree and Meeks got appointments.

Bernard Clark from Chicago  

Posted: March 2nd, 2015 2:09 PM

Praise God for the effort be encouraged, never to late God going to bless program and youth plus families who take part. I hope more pastors across City follow suite expand program to every God favor be with you.side.

Eddie from Chicago  

Posted: September 4th, 2013 1:12 PM

Getting behind organizations that have done things the same way for fifty years isn't helping. Instead, it's more of the same.

ERIC from Westmont  

Posted: September 3rd, 2013 2:50 PM

Great idea, our youth can use all the help they can get. Problem with our youth today is no one truly give them a chance to change, theirs no support these days. How about for once we get behind these organizations, churches, etc. rather than being part of the problem in not believing that its too late to bring about change, so with that said how do I help?

Rudy from Chicago  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 10:19 AM

Generally speaking, when pastors stop making excuses and start preaching the actual Word, things will change.

Niky from Chicago  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 12:06 PM

Better late than never!! Praying that the Austin Dream Makers Mentoring Program changes some lives.Thank you Pastors for this program.

bbc@bbc.org from Chicago  

Posted: March 13th, 2013 12:31 PM

They're fifty years too late!

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