THE YOUTH CENTER’S ROLE GLOBALLY TheYouth center is a branch of the MFCC, it is open to all kids of all nationalities. The youth center makes many efforts on a daily basis to help make the world a better place. Examples of these actions are weekly visits to soup kitchens, engaging in rallies for humanitarian purposes when offered, having many canned food drives for the starving kids in the middle east and always having a donation box to feed the poor. Every one can participate in these efforts by simply visiting the youth center and asking on invents coming up.The youth centers address is 7260 w. 93rd Street ,Bridgeview IL
ADVOCACY THROUGHCOMMUNITYEDUCATIONIt is very important to raise awarenessabout the Muslim communities in thissociety. There are many stereotypesabout Arab-American Muslims andpeople don’t realize that not allMuslims are terrorists and evil people.CAIR is a great organization thatworks to defend the civil rights ofAmerican Muslims in the region, fightbigotry, and promote tolerance. CairChicago normally speaks out againsthate crimes, terrorism and problemsthat tend to occur in the Arab-American communities. Wheneverevents that have to deal with theMuslim world are bought up to themedia Cair Chicago is usually the firstto take charge, they are on the newsnormally and they defend manyinnocent Muslims when it is needed.They have annual conferences that arevery successful and they alsoparticipate in giving lectures tocommunities that are not aware ofsome of the situations that ArabAmericans deal with. A way to helpkeep this great organization going ismaking a donation at there websitehttp://www.cairchicago.org/ andattending there lectures and annual
STRENGTHENING COMMUNITY The MFCC has a very close-knit community in the Bridgeview area here in Chicago. All the houses around the mosque foundation are primarily Arab, the youth center is two minutes walking distance from the mosque and the schools are directly in front of the mosque. Everyone in the MFCC community knows each other and is willing to give a helping hand out to each other. After the siege in Gaza, Palestine the youth center felt the need to do something to spread awareness to people that are unaware of the torture the Palestinian people were going through. They decided to partner up with AMP (American Muslims for Palestine) and set up a rally downtown Chicago on Michigan avenue. The rally was complete success the streets were full and the goal that they set out for them selves which was to spread awareness was more than made. They marched in front of the Israeli embassy and chanted for hours. AMP is great organization that works here in Chicago to spread awareness and help the people in Palestine from the occupation by the Israeli government. They are planning on having big conferences sometime next year and they are trying to bring President Carter to come speak. Participating in these rallies and conferences help shape up a strong community. Working with the youth center when this happened really made me feel like we were all family working to help a great cause out. One way people can help is by visiting the amp website and just reading facts about the Israeli occupation and spread the knowledge. The amp website is http://www.ampalestine.org/
Another great way the youth center helps the MFCCcommunity as well as other communities in Chicago is wevolunteer with habitat for humanities. We normally picka day, fill up a bus with volunteers and go revenant adestroyed house and help out a couple families. Theselittle actions mean the word to the disadvantaged familiesand there communities. I enjoy seeing the smile on thereface’s when they see we have to come simply to help them.
POLITICAL ACTIVITY When the presidential election arrived a couple years ago, the MFCC youth center asked for volunteers to go door- to-door knocking in MFCC community and register people to vote. I decided to volunteer and the process was exhausting we had to walk door-to-door convincing people to vote but nevertheless we had a great turn out, we registered almost every house that wasn’t registered before. The Imam of our mosque has influence on the community and everyone looks up to him and trusts him. When elections come about, some people wait to see who he is voting for and he gives his reasons, reasons that may better the community or make it worse and some people go based on his reasoning. There are many ways to get involved politically, for example volunteering and going door-to-door registering people to vote, working at the election judge ect. The youth center offers all these volunteering opportunities and if any one is interested you may give them a call and ask too see when is the next coming elections! 708- 430-5666
DIRECT STRATEGIES As I mentioned earlier the Arab- American community gets a lot of hate at times and we need to know how to approach this hate and show that it is not ignored. The youth center partners up with AMP and plan rallies around Chicago. In the past year we had about 4 rallies on Michigan avenue in relation to Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the situation that has been going on in Syria and Egypt. People need to know that what they see on TV is not completely true. The SJP (students for justice in Palestine) here at Loyola is a great club for the Palestinian cause, they had two great events this year that showed people what is really going on in the west bank. One event I really liked was the flashmob event , what they did was silently walk through the IC with posters and facts on there shirts , this opened the eyes of many students. Some of the facts are Innocent kids are being killed, women are being beat and the Israeli defense forces are destroying homes. All we can do is spread awareness by going to rallies expressing our voices and spreading the facts. A way all Loyola students can get involved is by joining the SJP here on campus it is a great club and the purpose of the club is too spread awareness around campus.
VOTING ACTIVITIESThe youth center supports many political activities frompresidential elections to the MFCC board member elections. Theyouth center organizes many voter registration drives and theyexplain to the community who is running and what they arefighting for. They youth center tends to hold elections at theactual youth center, last year I was an election judge at the youthcenter for the mayor of Chicago elections. Also the youth centeris a strong supporter of going door-to-door registering people tovote, they have been gathering volunteers for this cause for thepast five years.
COMMUNITY/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Due to the fact that the MFCC is such a close community most people in the communitysupport each others businesses. In the MFCC community there are doctors, lawyers,dentists, car dealers, store owners ect. The the youth center tends to offer kids jobs ifthey need it, and not only the youth center all the businesses around the area offer kidsjobs if they need them.The youth center also has a leadership workshop at least once a month and there isnever an open seat. They bring professionals to talk about there careers and show thekids that going to school and staying on the right track will get them somewhere in life.The lectures also discuss what leadership qualities the kids should posses at the age theyare in now in order to lead themselves to great futures and making the right decisions.
DIRECT SERVICES The youth center does plenty of great direct service, not only towards the MFCC community but towards many other minority communities in Chicago. They volunteer in many soup kitchens around Chicago, the youth center is also very active in habitat for humanities and food drives. Tutoring is offered every weekday during the school year to all kids. The reason behind this is because the public high schools in the area are very gang friendly and have a very high drop out rate. So in order to keep the literacy rate in the Arab community up to par we offer free tutoring to keep these kids in school and show them that with help it is very doable. Tutoring is not the only thing offered at the youth center; there is a weight room, a indoor basketball court ,a game room and a few rooms filled with desks, computers and printer for the kids get there studies done. The youth center is very kid friendly, the kids think they are coming to have fun but in reality they are getting there homework done, doing better in school and walking out with religious information due to the daily religious lectures. The main goal of the youth center is to keep our youth out of trouble and in safe place while being productive and for the past 20 years the MFCC youth center is doing just that. The youth center is usually always taking volunteers so give them a call if your interested. 708-430-5235