Alex Kotlowitz visited us one evening when we were corps officers at Chicago Temple Corps.  Here’s a Chicago Tribune article last month about how he was changed by his experience writing the book There Are No Children Here.

Kotlowitz came to speak to the leaders and workers who staffed our Tuesday evening programs for young people.  Once a quarter we would tell the children and teens to stay home.  We’d fix up a nice meal for the leaders and then talk about what was taking place with our young people.  Do some planning.  Pray together.  Sunbeams, Corps Cadets, Adventure Corps, Girl Guards, tutoring, music.  Familiar programs to Salvation Army folk. 

Men Only.  It was the name of the discipling program we used for young men growing up on Chicago’s West Side.  Many of them lived in the CHA Henry Horner Homes.  Henry Horner no longer exists, but it was one rough place for families to raise young people.

Sitting here, writing these words, the memories of people and their stories begin to return.  The sights, smells, feelings.  Fear, anger, hope, joy.

The visit by Kotlowitz was made possible by our friend, Ben Teifeld.  Ben’s a devout practicing Jew who is committed to serving in the very hard places of Chicago. 

Hard work.  If you asked me what characterized our ministry there in the 1980s and early 90s.  And good people willing to come along side us and the many good people of Henry Horner Homes.