Woodlawn group celebrates anniversary

By Carl Pickerill

The fourth anniversary of the Woodlawn Community Service Organization took place this past Saturday at the Bessie Coleman Library on 63rd Street in Woodlawn. The event featured guest speaker Mr. Kweku Embil, the principal of the Woodlawn Community School, a K-6 elementary school on 67th Street. Embil spoke about the recent successes of the reading and mathematics programs at his school, informing attendees that 2nd and 3rd graders’ average performance in those subjects equals that of 4th and 5th graders on a statewide average.

The anniversary was open to the public, and various community organization leaders turned out for the event. The topics of concern addressed by Embil and by other members of the community focused on sustainable living, education, and community needs.

Alice Johnson, the head of the South Side Community Federal Credit Union, said that the community needs to focus on setting up retail markets on 63rd Street, as this initiative would lead to an increase in jobs and increase in income.

“We have lots of empty space and a lot of empty land, Johnson said. “Let’s say we open up a Pizza Hut or a Subway; kids in the community want to work and they’ll be able to fill those positions ’round the clock.”

The Woodlawn Community Service Organization (WCSC) assists individuals within the community through the purchasing of school supplies, school uniforms, and Christmas presents for children during holidays, said Karen King, the New Communities program director at the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corporation.

“(WCSC) is already doing a lot of good things and it’s really just a matter of helping them out to be able to do a little more,” King said.

The event concluded with a praise dancer from a local parish and a martial arts demonstration, followed by refreshments. The WCSC meets monthly at the Bessie Coleman Library.