About

WHAT WE DO

The Blue Gargoyle is to serve as a hub for community services in order to provide positive opportunities for youth and families on the Southside of Chicago. Through partnerships and programs in arts, education, and workforce development, we will provide youth and families the opportunity to become self-sustaining in a rapidly changing world.

Blue Gargoyle is responding to the lack of safe spaces in the neighborhood and the lack of opportunities for youth disconnected from work, school, family, or basic social services (“Opportunity Youth”). This opportunity void is deeply tied to the violence epidemic.

[Blue Gargoyle] is one of the few places our kids feel safe to be themselves.

Woodlawn Restorative Justice Hub

HOW WE DO IT

The Blue Gargoyle partners with existing organizations that demonstrate impact, and we coordinate and conduct in-house programs that fit our vision and capacity. All BG programs meet 3 basic criteria:

1. Ability to teach and allow practice for a skill that will have a functional use
(developing Utility)

2. Ability to connect participants to a peer network
(developing Community)

3. Ability to connect participants to future opportunities
(developing Employability)

STAFF & BOARD

The current Executive Director of the Blue Gargoyle is Rev. Julian DeShazier, senior minister of University Church, who has a deep commitment to the mission of the organization. He is enthusiastic about the resurgence of the new Blue Gargoyle because of the urgent need for youth services in our community. His primary responsibility is to lead the strategic vision of the organization, focusing on resource development, and establishing the Blue Gargoyle as one of the “go-to” centers for creative programming and workforce development services for youth.

 

Our Director of Programs is Ramona Bamgbose; she oversees the current programs of the Gargoyle, as well as assists with managing and developing relationships with key partners and external stakeholders. She ensures that all programming focuses on the mission of the organization. In addition, Ms. Grant will assist with the development of critical new programming and partnerships.

 

Internationally acclaimed singer/director Maggie Brown serves on the Board of Directors and also as leader of the Youth Repertory Theatre Troupe. Her goal is to provide inspiration and knowledge for the youth involved. She teaches them about the contributions of their ancestors, in order to inspire a greater sense of responsibility and hope in service of positive outcome for their future.

 

Board member Julie Less, along with a planning committee of committed volunteers, leads the Open Mic Nights. Ms. Less was a part of the original Blue Gargoyle programming, and is excited about the revival and our new mission and programming.

 

In addition to Rev. DeShazier, Ms. Brown and Ms. Less, other board members include Vivian Loseth and Almarie Wagner, both members of University Church and retired executives with long experience in non-profit leadership.

 

BG also has a Junior Executive Board, where youth can gain executive experience in helping to manage the Blue Gargoyle programs. Olivia Cheng (from UChicago – Lab School) and Adam Wilson (from UChicago – Woodlawn) serve as inaugural chairs of the JEB.

bluegargoyle1967About