Our story has never been about a single organization, but the collective actions of our partners and friends, and the power of working together for a common cause.
2021 Choose Hope Series
The Choose Hope mini-film series transports viewers to communities on the frontlines of our greatest challenges and to the people across Chicago who are stepping up to meet them. They save lives and dreams while we work towards change. They fight for what they love. They Choose Hope.
We invite you to watch the films below, or join the conversation by viewing a recording of our 2021 Choose Hope film screening and panel discussion with the Gene Siskel Film Center HERE.
Choose Hope: I’m Going to Get Back Up And Try It Again (Chicago Adventure Therapy)
Love, trust, and hope are essential ingredients of change because change is ultimately a human experience. That's at the heart of Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT).
CAT opens the door to possibility and change by taking young people on adventures that introduce them to new experiences and the power that comes from learning that you can keep moving forward, even if you fall. That the getting back up again fuels hope and belief in oneself.
Choose Hope: We’re going to find new paths to choose hope
(Contextos with Maafa Redemption Project)
Be seen and heard, to be the "author" of your own story, to change how others see the narrative of your life, unleashes a power of transformation.
Partnering with community organizations, Contextos describes: "We're an organization that believes every human being's story matters."
Choose Hope: The Most Powerful Weapon on the Planet (Firehouse Community Arts Center)
There are many paths to peace in communities struggling with gun violence. What is essential to all is the need to create space where connection and love can flourish, on the streets and within the minds and hearts of young people. Or as Pastor Phil says, "It's about giving them permission to be great."
The Firehouse Community Arts Center in Chicago's North Lawndale community uses the arts to unleash the power and potential of people and peace. For things to change you have to believe it's possible. That is why "hope is the most powerful weapon on the planet."
CHOOSE HOPE: A Change Is in the Making (Future Ties)
Meet Jennifer Maddox, Founder of Future Ties in Greater Grand Crossing. What started as a drop-in center for kids living in the Parkway Gardens Housing Complex, has grown to become an engine for change, which for many young people living there, means a pathway to survival.
"There are awesome people who live in our community! People don't know that because they are afraiid to come here," says Jennifer.
In fact, it is the young people who inspire and drive Jennifer and her team at Future Ties to show up every day. "Without them, there would be no me.....we must be resilient for those who need us the most.
CHOOSE HOPE: Instead of Walls, We’re Building Bridges (Jehovah Jireh Outreach Ministry)
Meet Pastor Jody Bady, Director of Community Outreach at Jehovah Jireh Outreach Ministry dedicated to creating safe havens and community in the wake of violence. Having lost "three generations of young black men" in his family, Pastor Jody is dedicated to doing all he can, every day, to stop the violence.
Choose Hope: If you can do something to keep hope alive — bring it! (The Kindness Campaign)
Christopher Watts and his team at the Kindness Campaign start with the questions "what do you need?" and "how we can help?"
They follow the lead of the community to generate acts of compassion and to ignite dreams, though not the dreams of fairytales and far off places. They show their neighbors what life can offer by creating experiences of compassion, joy and beauty.
Whether it is a live performance by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, or a back to school fair with ponies and magic tricks, the Kindness Campaign transforms 75th Street into a world of possibility and imagination.
"People will walk past and see the dream. When you dream, you have hope. When you have hope, you achieve."
CHOOSE HOPE: Fight for What We Love (Ring of Hope)
Meet Pastor Anthony Wright, Founder and Executive Director of Ring of Hope in Greater Grand Crossing, which offers boxing, mental health services and more to lift up his community.
"I think there's a lot of people who are no longer fighting...we have to make sure there are people who are out there, trying to keep the light of hope shining."
And Pastor Wright knows: "I once was a negative story, but because of community, positive people and programs like this, I was able to find hope."
You can view 2020 Choose Hope highlights below as well as the full videos featuring The BASE, BUILD, CHAMPS, I Grow Chicago,
Kids Off The Block, M.A.S.S., New Life Centers, Paving the Way, Target Area Development Corp, and West Town Bikes.
2020 Choose Hope Series
We’ve put a spotlight on the people who lift up each other’s work, find ways to dig deep and Choose Hope no matter the odds.
They show us the power of believing in our communities and living hope through action.
Their leadership and inspiration are essential to our collective efforts to build peace in Chicago.
View a recording of our 2020 Choose Hope film screening and panel discussion with the Gene Siskel Film Center HERE.