By Tom Holmes
The Review sent out a poll by email to 50 Forest Park residents asking, "Yes or No. Do you know what PLCCA is?" Everyone who responded answered, "No."
PLCCA (Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action) at 411 Madison St. in Maywood is just a 10-minute walk from Empowering Gardens in Forest Park, yet few residents in town know that the nonprofit, with a focus on the low-income residents of Proviso Township and with a $7.1 million annual budget, even exists.
Here is just a sample of the 30 programs the agency offers:
The Debra Ann Porter Childcare Center serves children up to 12 years old of low-income working parents and is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Early Head Start (age 0-3) and Head Start (age 3-5) are federally funded, providing comprehensive child development programs for families within the income guidelines.
The Illinois Youth Investment Program for ages16 to 24 accommodate 25 participants who want to become security guards. The training begins on Nov. 2 and will be led by instructors from a professional security training school. Claudette Harrell, PLCCA's executive vice president said, "This program is great because at the end of the training the participants get jobs, and hopefully some will be on a path to becoming police officers."
PLCCA's literature describes the Silence the Violence program as "a collaborative effort to address the problem of violence in our communities through a behavioral health approach. PLCCA provides clinical services while partners provide alternative resources for mentoring, enrichment and recreational activities."
The Kidz 'N' Klubs Golf Academy is a summer program that provides minority, handicapped, economically disadvantaged and at-risk youth (age 8-17) from Proviso Township — in which Forest Park is located — with the opportunity to participate in a positive, enjoyable, and disciplined game of golf. The program will enhance their knowledge and skills, build their self-esteem, self-control, and self-motivation."
PLCCA maintains four properties with a total of 54 units to offer affordable transitional housing for clients on the path to home ownership. The nonprofit also took the lead in the development, construction and sale of 23 single-family homes along the bike path in Maywood known as Pepper's Path. The homes were sold at around $135,000.
The Phoenix Homes is a 73-unit high-rise at 401 Green St., built by PLCCA 20 years ago. Since it was funded by HUD's Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program, residency is usually restricted to households earning 50 percent of the Area Median Income or less and with at least one member age 62 or over. Tenants pay either 30 percent of their adjusted monthly income or 10 percent of their unadjusted income or the housing portion of their welfare assistance.
Re-entry for ex-felons
Re-Entry Services at PLCCA assist people recently released from incarceration and transitioning back into the community with behavior management, general case management, mental health, substance use education and social services.
Programs are available for substance abuse and include group or individual therapy sessions.
Every day of the week since June, according to Harrell, an 18-wheeler pulls into the parking lot across from the Proviso Missionary Baptist Church at 1116 S. 5th St., filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and dairy products to be distributed to thousands of community members as a way to blunt the effect of the coronavirus.
The daily distribution of food illustrates how the PLCCA model works. Harrell said that most of the funding for her nonprofit's services come from federal and state government or from charitable organizations.
In the case of the daily food distribution, World Vision provides the funding and the delivery of the food and PLCCA, a 501c3 organization, takes care of the delivery of services.
Bishop Claude Porter is the founding father of the Maywood nonprofit. Since 1968 it has grown to an organization that serves 30,000 individuals and families every year.
The organization's credo is "Providing a hand up, not a hand out," which succinctly states Porter's philosophy. A PLCCA information sheet explains, "PLCCA firmly believes the end result of our efforts will mean a family and community largely self-determined and therefore self-sufficient."
Go to www.plcca.org or call 708-450-3500 for more information.
Community Guide 2019 - 2020
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