Y-Friends, a 6-year-old, community-based non-profit, trains youth for leadership in the community, school and workplace. An overflow crowd of young teenagers, last Saturday, gathered at Amundsen Park, 6200 Bloomingdale Ave. for a day filled with workshops, basketball tournaments, video game and Double Dutch competitions, and Creative Arts Ministry.

The event is designed by youth, 10-21 years of age, to encourage collaboration with other area youth. Y-Friends supporters included Alderman Isaac Carothers (29th Ward), the Community Action Council, Ron’s Barbershop, Hair Salon & Shoe Lounge, Hair Sparkle, Mommie O’Neil, The Ruach Covenant Church Agape team and many church officials.

One of the events participants, Lonzo Harris explained, “This is one of the events we want to have yearly here at Amundsen Park. Mostly it is an outreach for the young people who come and participate in the different workshops. They do a session where they counsel and talk and they also reach out to other churches to come together to praise God. We have success in bringing out the youth.”

Victor Davis, park district manager, noted, “I was transferred over here from Douglas Park in 1999. I did community outreach. I went to the community to try to get them involved with the park district. Ruach Covenant [Church] we started with once a week. That worked and this has turned out to be an excellent program.

Tracey Young, coordinator for the event, said, “Youth has developed various activities. There is a workshop session going on right now where they are talking about the different issues of the community and the different issues that concern them, like sex, violence and drugs. We also have different facilitators with them giving different perspectives on how to solve problems both from a worldly point of view and a spiritual point of view-it is problem-solving and conflict resolution. We also had them for the last six months soliciting donations, writing letters and going out into the community to get funding for this. We got Nike Corporation, which has donated all the different prizes. We have the alderman, Isaac Carothers, and the advisory board who have donated things, as well as our congregation, which has donated to the program. We have been doing this once a year for the last six years.”

Pastor Darryl O’Neil of Ruach Covenant Church International was on hand for guidance, supervision and assistance wherever needed. For more information on how to get involved, contact Tracey Young at 708/848-2989 or 773/416-6766