Tag Archives: South Side

I Will Be Answering Your Blogging Questions on Tuesday, January 31, 2012

25 Jan

Writing for Your Blog

Are you curious about what a blog is and how it works?

Do you want to know the difference between a website & a blog?

What else would you like to know about blogging?

Get all of your questions answered at my Blogging Q & A Session on Tuesday, January 31, 2012. The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.  at Woodson Library at the corner of 95th & Halsted.

See you there!!


Become an Education Watchdog – October 27, 2011

26 Oct

Education Training - Better Government Association

Being Short Has Perks…And a Camera Helps, Too

16 Jul

I attended the 20th Annual Chosen Few House Music Picnic on Saturday, July 10th, and realized two things:

  1. Being short has perks
  2. Having a camera comes in handy

Let me share my story.  While cruising the crowds by the stage, people let me through to the stage because they saw me with my DSLR camera.  But when they looked down and saw me with the camera, they really moved out the way.  And, I didn’t even have a VIP pass.  I was loving that.

On a totally unrelated note, I just want to say that with all the people at Jackson Park, I did not hear any reports of violence. You’re just not going to get that crap at House Music events.  That’s not how we do it!  Once House beats engulf you, you move into a world all your own in a sea of House Heads.  It’s great.  You have to feel it to believe it.

Ok, going back to my original story.  Being short and having a big camera helped me to move forward through big crowds.  Anyway, check out this photo of me and my favorite House DJ, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk.

Farley Jackmaster Funk & Marcie at 2010 Chosen Few Picnic

Registered Nurse Provides Daily Dose of “Goodies” and Goodwill

12 Aug

If you’ve ever wished you could turn back the hands of time and be a kid again, you’ll be happy to discover you can—by making a pit stop to Sweet Momma’s Candy Shop a few blocks off of the corner of 95th and Ashland.

To quote a common expression, “you’ll be like a kid in a candy store!”

Sweet Momma's Candy Sign

Here you’ll find dozens upon dozens of gooey delights to suit your sweet tooth.
Indulge in everything from “old school” candy like Mary Janes, Chico Sticks and Bit-O-Honey, to” new school” treats like Now and Later and Laffy Taffy.

And just as sweet as the varied selections, is the disposition of the owner, Darlene Gaston– who treats every customer like a friend.

Open since February 2009, this nurse turned entrepreneur caters to kids and adults of all different races and ages.

Today As Not Seen on T.V. is pleased to give you the scoop on this new addition to the community.

Darlene Gaston - Sweet Momma's Candy Shop

Darlene Gaston - Sweet Momma's Candy Shop

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I’m a registered nurse, part-time in the evenings. I’ve been in nursing for 29 years. I want to be an asset to the community and to the environment. God has blessed me, so I don’t mind being a blessing to other people.

2. What makes Sweet Momma’s different from other stores that sell candy?

We offer a Christian outlook for the kids. We provide a safe haven for them so they don’t have to get involved with “liquor store clientele.” Also, if a kid comes in and doesn’t have enough money for the purchase, we give them trivia questions so they can earn their candy for the right answers.

3. Where does the name from the shop come from?

Actually the name comes from my mom. She would always carry candy in her purse for the neighborhood kids, who often referred to her as “sweet”.

4. Do you offer any “sugar free” stuff?

No. I had it in the store for the first three months, but then it would expire. I couldn’t even give it away!

5. What’s your favorite candy choice?

Mary Janes!

6. Why a candy store?

I wanted to do something quick and simple that would be an outreach to God’s children.

7. What’s the most popular item you sell?

Of the new school candy it would be Now & Laters; old school would be Turtles and Nut Chews.

8. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Sweet Momma’s is sponsoring a weekly can drive for my church. We want to feed 500 people for Thanksgiving. If you bring in a canned good, you’ll get free candy or a juice.

Old School vs new school candy - Sweet Momma's Candy Shop

Old School vs new school candy - Sweet Momma's Candy Shop

Stop by Sweet Momma’s, located at 1632 West 95th (off Ashland) in Chicago, to check out the sweets. Chips, juices, and water are also sold.

Contributor: Jennifer Brown-Banks

Celebrating 20 Years of Real Men Cook in Chicago

24 Jun


I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Real Men Cook for the first time ever this year.  Celebrating 20 years of family, food and health, this event was held at the new Kennedy King College campus on 63rd and Halsted on Father’s Day, June 21, 2009.   

Yvette Moyo, President & Co-Founder of Real Men Cook, estimated that at least 3,000 people came out to celebrate and honor fathers and other special men in their lives on this beautiful day.  Even though this event has been covered by the media, the following photos have not been seen on TV.  Enjoy my brief photo journey through Real Men Cook Chicago.  Go to www.realmencook.com for more information.

 Yvette Moyo

Tamia & South Paw

Justin - Verlene - Tamia copy

Tim Lee

Jason Jones

Jasmine & Tre Childress

Ron has cooked for 3 years

Diane - Rhonda - Martina

Culinary Students in Children's Pavilion

Darryl Denard and Family

Tamia is a tasty snack

Marcie Hill, Editor, took the photos.  Aren’t they lovely?  I’m working on my humility. 🙂

Dr. Loretta Hall-Martin is a Dancing Diva

1 Jun
Dr. Loretta Martin the Dancing Diva

The Dancing Diva - Dr. Loretta Martin

Dr. Loretta Martin is a dancing diva. The dictionary defines “diva” as a prima donna or a female lead singer in music. Well, I don’t know if Dr. Loretta Martin can sing, but I do know that she has been leading dances most of her life. And she didn’t stop after retirement. Currently, she teaches line dance classes at various locations on the south and west sides of Chicago. Because of the very active lifestyle of this “seasoned” citizen, I could not resist sharing her story on AS NOT SEEN ON TV.

Her dance career started at age five at Madden Park, one of the Park Districts in Chicago. Tap, ballet, square dancing, and round dancing are just a few styles of dances she’s mastered. Her “diva-ness” kicked in when she was 12 years old. The dance instructor left her in charge of an entire dance class while she was on vacation because Dr. Loretta knew all of the “little girl” and “big girl” dances.

She went on to lead dance classes five days a week as a physical education teacher at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago. Her passion for dancing was felt by her students. Dr. Loretta proudly shared that “my dancers were very good.” That is an understatement. Thanks to her sister who taught modern dance at Abbott Elementary School which is the school from which most of Dr. Loretta’s students graduated, many of them were already good dancers by the time they reached her. However, after training with Dr. Loretta for four years, some had reached professional standards. A few went on to dance with the Alvin Ailey dance troupe and The Dance Theater of Harlem. For the ones that didn’t dance professionally, they kept their passion for dancing alive in college. If the colleges and universities they attended did not have dance programs, they started them.

Dr. Loretta shared her most memorable performance which occurred in the mid-70s. Her students dressed up as the characters of the Wiz and performed Ease On Down The Road in front of a crowd of about 10,000 spectators during the half-time show of an intense basket playoff game between Phillips and Westinghouse. Their performance was so outstanding that audience members thought the dancers were the actual performers in the play, which was in Chicago at that time.

Her diva-ness continued even after she retired in 1999. Although she had no intention of teaching dance again, one of her sorority sisters guilted her into teaching line dances after the instructor at a venue had quit. At the time, she was taking classes, so she knew what to do. And she is still doing her thing because she’s now teaching eight line dance classes per week.

In addition to instructing line dances, Dr. Loretta engages in many other activities:
• She can be seen stepping with her dance partner of 10 years, Mr. Ed Banks, on Can I Step with You? This is shown on CAN TV19 in Chicago.
• As the administrator of the Hall-Martin Foundation, she has been blessing graduating seniors from Wendell Phillips H.S. with scholarships since June 1982.
• Dr. Loretta and her cousin, Brenda Jenkins, authored, He Is Not Left Behind…He Is With Me! In 2006. Look out for a new book in the near future.
• She has gained local star status as a performer in Serendipity, a senior musical in Chicago, in which she has been performing since 2005.
• She is the mother of 4; grandma of 6 plus some; great-grandma of two with several step-children and step-grandchildren.
• Lastly, she is an active member of the Hall of Fame Committee, one of Wendell Phillips’ Alumni Groups.

As you can see, Dr. Martin is one busy lady. To see the dancing diva in action, visit one of her line dancing classes or high noon stepper’s set. Contact Dr. Loretta at 773.520.6072 or retta425@aol.com for a current schedule.

Metropolitan Family Services – Conncecting to the Communities They Serve

4 May
Metropolitan Family Services - Calumet Center - Chicago

Metropolitan Family Services - Calumet Center - Chicago

Metropolitan Family Services (MFS) has been serving the needs of communities in Chicago since 1857. They are completely dedicated to fulfilling their mission, which is “to provide and mobilize the services needed to strengthen families and communities,” by identifying and responding to the needs of the communities in which they serve.

Although MFS has seven Chicago and suburban locations, I would like to highlight their Calumet Center located at 235 E. 103rd Street in Chicago. I have had the pleasure of covering several stories about this Center as a freelance journalist with the Independent Bulletin newspaper. They do so much in the community and I know that all the things they do are not seen on TV.

I felt the need to share some of the services that they offer to residents of the Roseland, Pullman, West Pullman, Riverdale, Washington Heights, Morgan Park and Chatham communities.

Youth Education
These in-school and after school programs were created to address academic and behavioral challenges through tutoring, recreational activities, life skills training, case management services and field trips. The goals of the program are to:
• Increase test scores in reading, math and language arts*
• Improve schools behavior social skills, cognitive functioning and parental involvement*
• Attempt to reduce truancy, suspensions, expulsions and academic challenges*
• Provide opportunities to complete high school and attend college*

* This information was taken from their brochure

African American Male Initiative
A particularly unique program offered by MFS is the African American Male Initiative Program.
This mentoring program, Mentoring Toward Manhood, is not a typical program. Mentors are matched to families. The men will spend time with male participants ages 10-16 and their families during monthly family outings sponsored by Metropolitan. Caregivers of the participants must be actively involved in the 10-week family group sessions. If the parent or caregiver fails to participate in family meetings, the entire family will miss the benefits of a mentor.

Teen Parenting
MFS offers a parenting education program for young women who are new parents and need help with parenting skills. They also work with teen parents in school to prevent future parenting until they are ready, and encourage them to stay in school. Some of the teen parents are DCFS wards.

Senior Programs
Seniors Parenting Again (SPA) helps seniors who are faced with the daunting task of being parents all over again. Also, a senior home owners program is available to provide assistance and resources to these “seasoned” citizens.

Family Programs
General counseling to families; a domestic violence program for women and their children; and information and referrals to people who call in for assistance or who walk in for service are provided under this program. Additionally, activities, field trips, resource lending and parenting classes are offered to strengthen the bond between parents and their children.

Adoption Services
Relative caregivers obtain assistance to help adjust to becoming caregivers with adoption and guardianship assistance. MFS helps them apply for public assistance, address school and emotional issues as well as supply other resources. MFS’s Action Team is working diligently to reduce the number of children of color in the child welfare system.

Relocation Assistance for Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Residents
MFS looks at the array of needs of families and individuals. They also consider barriers and determine offer the appropriate services to address the needs. These services include counseling, substance abuse services, GED, and connections to after school or childcare services. Employment and permanent housing support is also available.


As you can see, Metropolitan Family Services is doing great things that are not seen on TV. They partner with Chicago Public Schools, the Illinois Department Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the U.S. Department of Education to develop and provide programs for youth, parents, grandparents and the community at large. Dedicated staff members and volunteers also make these programs possible.

Check out their website at http://www.metrofamily.org to learn more about the programs and services offered. You are welcome to stop in or call the Metropolitan Family Services – Calumet Center at 773.371.3600 for more information or with questions about services.