AME church hoping to curb area violence
BY HANNAH KOHUT Correspondent May 23, 2011 11:18PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Through show, dance, and fashion — and dressed in their Sunday best — members of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Robbins gathered in Orland Park to spotlight a cause: curbing street violence.
“We’re here to make a chain of protection around our children; to take them from the violence that surrounds them,” event co-chairperson Dolores Turner said Sunday night.
The honoree of the evening was Diane Latiker, founder of the Kids Off the Block organization, which helps provide children with positive alternatives, such as job training, tutoring, and mentoring.
Latiker was presented with an award by chairpersons Turner and Veronica Stewart. “She (Latiker) realized these kids had nowhere else to go,” Stewart said. “She opened up her home to them.”
Latiker was praised for serving 300 children in 2010.
“I quit my job to do this,” said Latiker. “They have issues, but so did we when we were their age.”
Latiker said her role is to let the children know that someone cares and that the community should talk to them and listen to them.
The evening was celebrated through interpretive song and dance performed by some of the church’s youth, and a fashion show.
Models of the evening graced the audience in ensembles of bold colors of orange, green, and bright white, and were emceed by motivational speaker James “The Storyteller” Ford.