Ashley’s Running for LSC


It’s almost time for CPS Local School Council Elections! April 8th during Report CArd Pick Up its time to vote! But voting is not just for parents it is for the school’s community also!
“I strongly encourage any parent or community member who is passionate about education and helping our students reach their fullest potential to run for their Local School Council,” said CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett. “Getting involved at the school level is great way to have a positive impact on your community and helps the District achieve its overall goal of ensuring 100 percent of our students are college-ready and 100 percent are college-bound.”

LSC representatives serve as an important link between a school’s administration, the community, CPS and students, and play a significant role in decision-making to boost student academic achievement.  Elected LSC representatives will serve a two-year term, beginning at the start of School Year 2014-2015 (SY14-15). Each LSC is made up of six parents, two community members (Ashley is Running as a Community Member), two teachers, one non-teacher staff member and the school’s principal. High School LSCs also have a student representative.

ashley vote card

Is guilt destroying our community?

Today I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine who brought up the idea of parental guilt and wondered if it was actually harming the community. We talked about a few instances of parents who coddle their children (old and young) and why this happens. While each situation is different I’m sure… I cannot shake the feeling that guilt is probably behind much of it.

My reasoning:

When you feel guilty about a situation, you tend to try to make up for the guilt with action or items etc… But what if you have so much that you blame yourself for their actions so you constantly try to make up for their choices by letting them run all over you.. Doesn’t sound too far from a possibility right? But let me not run too far with this theory. First I’ll look into the idea of this parental guilt and then let’s see some of the possible long term effects on the community.


Every parent has felt guilt over something in their child’s life. I am not saying this is bad, not normal or unhealthy. We are parents, not perfect. Many of us have felt guilty over taking your child to school when they had the sniffles so you could work, dating while raising kids or that time that you turned your back and the little one had a bit of an accident. It happens, right?

Guilt often allows us to gauge our actions and helps us refrain from potentially destructive behaviors that could cause harm. However, guilt can also be misdirected and debilitating to our ability to function powerfully in life. It’s what you do with that guilt that makes it unhealthy. The result of unhealthy guilt can be to make us feel bad about our decisions and behaviors. This unhealthy guilt “haunts” us and negatively effects lives over and over.

Single Mother Guilt

I’ve heard many mothers mention the idea of “Single Mother Guilt”. Well, 67% of children in the African American community come from a single parent household (Kids Count Data Center), so that’s a lot of guilt.  Single mothers can feel guilty because they brought a child into the world that is out of the “ideal” type of situation. Often single mothers cannot stay at home with the child and that brings more guilt. Now keep piling on items that can cause guilt: not being able to afford items, children blaming you for negativity, lack of a father in the home, children having special need.. etc.. Some mothers (and parents in general) respond by being a “helicopter parent” aka coddling the kid.

Much of this guilt is from the way society views single mothers and the problems this causes for the child. Diane Eyer, in her book Motherguilt, succinctly summed this negative myth as:

Being a single mom is basically immoral and selfish, the reasoning goes, since it deprives children of an important paternal role model and source of income. Single mothers are seen as engenders of the underclass-the juvenile delinquents, drug addicts, and violent criminals who plague the country. (1996: 29)

Who wouldn’t feel guilty about that? The single parent myth has risen steadily since the 1950’s (and is constantly higher in the African American Community) with the decline of the white picket fence with its working father and stay at home mother. Read more about  Deconstructing Mother Guilt here

Coddling due to Guilt

One response to feeling guilt in parenting can be to continue to coddle your child even after infancy.

Coddlers step in to negotiate for their child instead of letting the child work out problems for himself. They intervene, regardless of the severity of the situation. Parents who coddle their child provide instant gratification for things the child wants as opposed to what he needs. (MetroFamily Magazine /November 2010)

Instant gratification… we have a generation full of people that think in the “Me me me… now now now” mindset. Could this be from being coddled?

Long term effects

So coddling can be bad right? But once the child is grown is it okay?

“Parents should provide guidance, but to constantly intervene prevents a child from learning. You put your child at risk when he doesn’t learn to communicate and interact with people.” (MetroFamily Magazine /November 2010)

As new research shows that members of Generation Y are entering the workforce with an inflated sense of their abilities, principals are warning ”helicopter parents” against putting too much pressure on children to be successful, which could discourage them from risking failure.

According to a study by University College London, risk-taking behavior peeks during adolescence. Teens are apt to take more risks than any other age group. Their brain programs them to do so. It’s part of growing up. They must test boundaries, values and find their identity during these years. This is when they must learn, via experience, the consequences of certain behaviors. Our failure to let them risk may explain why so many young adults, between the ages of 22 and 35 still live at home or haven’t started their careers, or had a serious relationship. Normal risk taking at fourteen or fifteen would have prepared them for such decisions and the risks of moving away from home, launching a career or getting married. – (Growing Leaders Blog)

Here are a list of problems coddling and parenting through guilt can create in an adult life:

Lack of independence, responsibility, knowledge, maturity, work ethic and more.

Community effects

Coddling Parents  do too much for their children who were become less resilient and unable to cope with failure. Failure is a part of life and every successful adult has failed and pushed past it. But if a formerly coddled child turned adult cannot core with failure how will they ever attain success?  Instead they turn back to their helicopter parent to take care of them and they resort to child like behavior of letting the parents take care of them and fight their battles. Where does guilt come in hand?

The guilt a parent feels for their child’s hardship and problems can cause the parent to place responsibility on themselves and in turn allow the child to behave this way.  Therefore you have a generation of grown children who do not take responsibility for their actions, living with their parents who are raising their grandchildren and creating a cycle of weakness and failure. Or a child that blames everyone else for their problems and expects the outside world (or spouse) to take care of them like their parents always have. Am I being too extreme? Maybe. But we all know it happens. So take risks, let the kids fall and fail. When they disobey a parent hold back the instinct to rescue just for a minute and let them feel a tad but of pain.

What say you? Do you think this is a true problem for the community? Does guilt have nothing to do with kids running over parents later in life? Or is it perfectly find to coddle?

The “Money Mob” Works to Galvanize Local Support …

Hey look we were in the paper!

The Money Mob (MM), a trio of young professionals, has made it their business to alert the urban community about quality, independently-owned, African-American businesses in Chicago.
The MM, consisting of Ashley Barnes, Brandon Evans and Cassiopeia Sledge, see their efforts as a labor of love that will in time, benefit Chicago’s entire African-American business community.
Using Facebook, their website (, and word of mouth, the MM recently endorsed and promoted three businesses on the Southside of Chicago in the past three months via their Money Mob Kickback events and on YouTube.

At Kickback events, the MM provides for businesses, music, customer giveaways and a sociable atmosphere for shoppers. To ensure that Kickback events are successful, the MM also brings at least 20 potential customers to the establishment.
Read More Here

Visit the M($)B online now!

Push at Cook County Jail

Inmates at Cook County during the Christmas service

Inmates at Cook County during the Christmas service

So I went to jail….. Yes I know some of you aren’t shocked as you’ve seen it coming. Well sorry to disappoint you but it was not for a crime. (Although being stripped of all personal belongings and walking through gates next to armed guards made me feel like I could be stuck there if they decided). I went to the cook county jail to experience Christmas. (Many of you know I do no celebrate this holiday but we will not get into the antipagan reasons as this moment) I will also have to say for the record:

It was not that bad, nor was I afraid,  I felt sad and I wanted to help everyone.. Save everyone

If I had to sum up my experience in one word it would be omgryst (oh my god r you serious tear). There were so many people locked away so many members of families with children locked away on a special holiday… No cards, phone calls to expensive to make, no family no presents no nothing. Hope in this atmosphere was dismal (if any).

Rainbow PUSH coalition and others all came to help raise spirits of the prisoners during this time, sing songs and speak good words to the members of this chained society.

I left there feeling a pain in my soul. While I was happy to leave others would never get that choice. I’m sure there were innocent people in that room. I’m sure some people were thrown away from society because they cannot afford bail and I’m sure most of those individuals will not be given the opportunity to be rehabilitated. It is a bone chilling thought.

The things that stuck with me most is the communications person for the jail telling me if anything were to happen (because I had my phone inside which they rarely allow) that I couldn’t tweet about it or anything. But also the prisoners kneeling to pray in public, I thought to myself would one of us do the same in a large group of our peers? Would you take to the floor and pray if not in church?

That’s my final thought… Too much pain in this post to event share how I feel. But how can we let people just rot away?

Loyola breaks the 11 down streak against UIC

The Loyola Ramblers (5-19, 1-13 Horizon) won its first Horizon League game in nearly a year this Saturday and ended an 11-game overall losing streak when it beat UIC Flames (7-17, 3-11) 78-69 at the Gentile Arena. The Ramblers scored a season-high 78 points and have a new season-best 8 three-point field goals in 14 attempts (57 percent).
This game was nothing like the last meeting of UIC and Loyola, January 14th where the Flames won 58-51. UIC was looking to secure the regular season sweep in its first visit to the newly renovated Gentile Arena.

The Ramblers took full use of the new Gentile Arena. There was an “old school” memorabilia sale from past sports teams, a putting area where fans could see if they could get a hole-in-one during half time, new concession stands, and free balloon hats & animals all to raise the fan’s spirits. This spirit of the Ramblers’ fans makes the team a tough contender at home. The Flames’ have not won on the road against the Ramblers since February 27, 2009.
Rambler’s Coach Porter Moser put this new win as positive start for the rest of the season.

“You’ll be remembered by how you finish” Moser said

Loyola controlled the game from the opening tip with basket by Walt Gibler and ensuing three-pointer by London Dokubo gave the Ramblers the lead they would maintain until the end. UIC started slow and did not score until Daniel Barnes put up UIC’s first field goal of the game at the 17:01 mark of the half. Even then the momentum stayed with Loyola, less than a 30 seconds later, Denzel Brito scored a three-pointer to spark a 15-4 Loyola run that stretched the lead to 20-6.

UIC would not get closer than nine points the remainder of the period and the Ramblers out scored the Flames 39-26. Overall, the numbers tell it all: Loyola was shooting a 57.1% average in field goals to UIC’s 45.5%.

Although a few fans joked that Loyola won due the teams pink socks the team wore in support of “Play for Kay”, Coach Moser felt some of its strength came from the return Junior Ben Averkamp. When talking about Averkamp

, Coach Moser said “It just uplifts the team his presence”

Averkamp leads the Ramblers across the board in points, rebounds, assists and blocks. He was sidelined last week due to concussion symptoms after a collision at Wright State.

“When I got cleared late Thursday night, it was a good day.” Averkamp said.

Saturday was also a good day for Averkamp. Although coach Moser tried to start him off slow, Averkamp came off the bench to play 31 minutes and scored 17 points.

Averkamp wasn’t the only player celebrating while on the court. Loyola’s Walt Gibler became the 18th player in school history to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in his career.
But it was more than just these two men who won the game for Loyola.

“We’ve had alot of contributions from everybody… Tonight collectively we had more positive plays from a deeper collective group.” Coach Moser said

Jordan Hicks continued his record for quality play, recording 15 points, two assists and a pair of steals. Loyola had four other players in double digits: Ben Averkamp (17), Walt Gibler(11), Chim Kadima (10); Denzel Brito (11). This has not happened since December 22, 2010, in a victory at Texas-Pan American.

“This was the first time where Everybody was truly healthy…” Coach Moser said

All was not lost for UIC however. Gary Talton had 18 points and Daniel Barnes had 15 to lead UIC. Center Darrin Williams had three of the Flames’ seven blocked shots. UIC contines its away game stretch against Valparaiso Tuesday. That same day Loyola takes on Butler.

To see the full after game interviews take a look here:

Fix it!

There is a man who everyday is outside, rain or shine. He’s not on the corner or in the streets, he’s in his back yard. Since I moved into my coach house, he has been out almost there everyday. He is landscaping his own back yard and doing what seems to be insulation work. I like to watch through my front window however I do admit I feel a bit stalkery. But to see the dedication this man has to work everyday is amazing. This work is also not done grudgingly. There is a feel of peace and joy in his yard. He is happy doing this work. This speaks to me because people waste minutes, hours, days and even years doing nothing. However this man spends his time doing something you can tell he enjoys and it is benefiting his home. This says to me, get up and find your hobby that you love to do and rather than wasting your days, get off the couch and do something positive.

I see positive people


I’m tired of hearing about negative people. It’s sometimes not attainable to be like the exceptional people doing good in communities that news outlets focus. What about the everyday people doing little positive things? Don’t these people matter? The positivity they do can be like a butterfly flapping it’s wing can change the climate miles away. The small positive actions of everyday people can change the world. I’d like to focus on these people by just observing and learning.