A Saturday morning walk through the Lower West Side ("Pilsen") community of Chicago may trick you into thinking you've accidentally stumbled across the southern U.S. border. The sidewalks are crowded with pop-up artisan markets, stands selling homemade tamales and aguas frescas, and pickup trucks loaded with fresh produce for sale. The vivacious community overflows with people and colorful murals. It feels as though a small piece of Mexico was transplanted to the Heart of Chicago, but it didn't start out that way.
"I would like to see the girls become the leaders of their communities. This is what will bring real change to Haiti, and this will be the fulfillment of my dream." - Soeurette Rigodon, Deputy Director
Founded five years ago by actor Rainn Wilson, fiction writer Holiday Reinhorn, and executive director Dr. Kathryn Adams, The Lide Foundation provides instruction in the arts and literacy to over 550 adolescent girls at a dozen locations in rural Haiti. This mid-sized nonprofit helps high-risk girls build their confidence and develop life skills.
A new feature of Blue Avocado. Each issue, we'll highlight a community nonprofit that is doing great work within their sector. This issue brings you a nascent nonprofit that bridges social services and the arts. The Trenton Community A-Team (TCAT) in Trenton, N.J. demonstrates how creativity and the arts can be a lifeline for those struggling with social services issues and provides a way to reinvigorate urban communities. Like many small nonprofits trying to get established, the organization struggles with having enough resources to provide ideal staff and programs, but they say seeing the talent and enthusiasm of the participating artists keeps them going.
We asked a few questions to Board Chair, John Kelly about what TCAT is and what they can teach us.