The Chicago Community Trust provides funding as a means to expand the
Youth-Driven Hip Hop Hello Musical Greeting Social Entrepreneur Business Endeavor
Chicago, IL Wednesday, April 9, 2014 – On Monday, April 14, 2014, ABJ Community Services, Inc. (ABJ – www.abjchicago.org) will celebrate the grand opening of a state of the art Digital Music and Media Lab along with 21 years of advocacy and service in and around the South Shore Community. The organization is at a crossroad in its life and views this momentous occasion as a bridge from its past to the future. The event will be held at ABJ’s physical headquarters located at 1818 E. 71st Street and is open to the public.
Founded by Dr. Vivian R. Jones on April 14, 1993, ABJ is an accredited organization that is, historically speaking, most noted for its former foster care and adoptions program. Today, the focus has shifted to meet the needs of teens and young adults in need of services with the potential to deeply impact their lives as they move into adulthood. Victoria Brady Executive Director, says, “The state of teens and youth in Chicago is a great concern to ABJ. We believe that they not only deserve the best opportunities for success in life but that many are ready to take their place to secure their future. They do not like the conditions and violence in the community and many are involved in efforts to prompt change. We are fully vested in working with them and seeing to it that they have opportunities for success.”
In a strategic effort to break out of the more conventional modalities of social services, ABJ’s leadership seeks to develop programs that meet community needs through creativity, empowerment, and integrated services. A testament of this new approach is apparent by the organization’s new mission, which is to develop and provide innovative training; educational and preventive services; and human services that enable youth and adults to become independent and productive co-creators of their destiny. The aim is also, to impact policies that can enhance and improve the quality of life for those served.
ABJ, in partnership with its affiliate Ray of Hope Center of the Arts, is celebrating the grand opening of its Digital Music and Media Lab through a grant from the Chicago Community Trust. The Lab is an extension of the Arts Infusion Initiative which is also funded by The Chicago Community Trust, to connect youth with professional teaching artists across the city. According to Suzanne Connor, Senior Program Officer for Arts and Culture at The Chicago Community Trust, “the goal of the Arts Infusion Initiative is to expose, inspire, and connect young people through arts opportunities that are infused with skills in future orientation, career readiness, critical response, and conflict resolution. Through its Hip Hop Hello entrepreneurship project, ( brain child of David Robinson, formerly of the Black United Fund of Illinois), Ray of Hope Center of the Arts embodies this mission, retaining a committed group of older ’founders’ of the start-up business and attracting many new participants. The addition of the digital media lab will allow growth to accelerate for the teens individually and for the Hip Hop Hello project as a whole.” It will also provide a positive outlet for youth in and around the South Shore community as well as those involved in the Juvenile Justice System.
The grand opening of the Digital Music and Media Lab will be held Monday, April 14, 2014 at 6pm. For more information, contact Dr. Vivian R. Jones, President Emeritus of ABJ at 312-451-6338.