CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - The woman known as the "Mother of Englewood" -- who started a free after school program for kids six years ago -- was rewarded in a big way.
Celebrity host Mike Rowe of the hit show "Dirty Jobs" visited LaTanya Johnson at her program on 60th and Halstead in March. Rowe hosts a Facebook show called "Returning the Favor." Producers told Johnson they were filming a documentary of her program. To her surprise, Johnson was gifted a van, toys for the kids and a $15,000 check for her program.
"It was the biggest ‘wowza’ ever cause you see these things on tv you don't ever think that it'll happen to you. The next day I was still like, let me see if this van still outside, because this has to be a dream," said Johnson.
When she started the program, she was watching 10 kids after school. Once she acquired a building for the kids, the number grew to one-thousand.
"I think that kids doesn't have a safe place out here. They don't have activities. They kind of took many of the resources out of our community," said Johnson.
The program runs from 4-8 p.m. on weekdays during the school year. It is longer over the summer. It provides kids with food and activities like computers and crafts.
"What I like best about it, is how fun Miss LaTanya is and how she encourages kids to do better," said 10-year-old Janya Smith, who attends the program.
Johnson is still accepting new children into the program. For more information go to https://latanyaandtheyouthofenglewood.org