In 1976, a group of Northwestern University students and their pastor started to work with homeless and low-income people in Chicago's "North of Howard" neighborhood in the hope of eliminating poverty and empowering participants to live joyful, productive, and stable lives. That effort has grown into a multi-faceted service program, known as Good News Partners, which serves more than 1,000 people a year with the help of hundreds of volunteers, including lawyers from the Women Everywhere project.
With assistance from area churches, the group started a homeless shelter, Jonquil Hotel, which functions as a low-cost, transitional home for homeless people and families. The group's work grew to include the renovation of five cooperative apartment buildings, where families affiliated with Good News Partners can earn home ownership while learning financial and neighborhood responsibility. Good News Partners also provides safe, emergency housing to women and children at New Life Shelter.
In addition to housing, Good News Partners provides help to participants in the areas of education and employment. Good News Partners operates a day-care center, a pre-school, an after-school tutoring program for students in grades K-8, and a reading clinic. Good News Partners also provides informal learning opportunities through field trips and sponsors several clubs in the goal of providing positive role models for children in the community. These clubs include the Girls' Club, Fearbusters Boys' Club, and the Ark wilderness camp.
For adults, Good News Partners offers classes in English as a second language, parenting, creative arts and practical arts. Adults can also obtain help in preparing for the GED exam. In the area of employment, Good News Partners building/rehabilitation crews conduct apprenticeship programs in construction trades. Jonquil Hotel residents can develop skills by staffing the front desk and doing housekeeping. Lastly, individuals can obtain loans and technical assistance to start small businesses.
Good News Partners by the numbers: 1000 people served each year; 100 kids in programs weekly; 60 families in transition housed nightly; 30 women and children sheltered nightly; 200 housing units rehabilitated, 50 new cooperative homeowners; and 500 volunteers each year.
Goods News Partners' needs include: financial contributions; donations of goods from the wish list on its web site (www.kuc.org/agency/newlife.htm); tutors for its reading clinic; mentors for boys' and girls' clubs; partners for families in need; labor and materials for building renovations; assistants for its day-care center; volunteers for staff positions; and prayer. Good News Partners' business office is located at 1600 West Jonquil Terrace, Chicago, Illinois 60626. The telephone numbers are 773/764-4999 (main number); 773/743-7678 (president's number); and 773/764-2261 (youth programs number). Good News Partners can also be reached at GNP-Chicago@juno.com.