On Tuesday, June 4, I had the absolute privilege to attend the Life Directions Focus Life Gala at the South Shore Cultural Center to honor Dr. Lena McLin.
Life Directions originated in Detroit, Michigan in the early 1970s, and over time expanded to cities such as Chicago, Tuscon, San Antonio and New Orleans. The premise of the program is to have “peers inspiring peers through forgiving.” As a result, neighborhoods and youth are coming together to discuss issues that directly affect them and young people are invited to be activists, to promote change in their own communities. This model aims to promote change and understanding at a grassroots level, rather than from a top-down approach.
The three programs that exist today are the Neighborhood Enrichment Program, the Peer Motivation Program and the Peer Mentor Program. In Chicago, those efforts have served hundreds of children and empowered them to become leaders and mentors. To learn more, visit their website, at lifedirections.org.
The woman being honored, Reverend Doctor Lena McLin has inspired countless singers to reach their full potential. In order to do this, they had to sing classical opera in her classes! After the dinner, the attendees and guests were invited to the musical program, where decades of former students stunned the audience with their vocal accomplishments. From the renowned Robert Sims and Chicago’s own Tammy McCann, the night was full of rich melody and unsolicited praise for the woman who still holds singing lessons every Saturday at her apartment.
Between the fabulous dinner and the oratory and musical performance, this past Tuesday was anything but dull. The entire gala took place with the elegant South Shore Cultural Center as the backdrop, ever iconic in the minds of Chicagoans.
Special Thanks to Board Member, Brother Bede Baldry, FSC for inviting me to this unforgettable event!