Northsiders visit Englewood in myth-dispelling tour

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -- A large group with “My Hood, My Block, My City” traveled to the South Side Saturday to learn more about and explore Englewood.

That organization gives teenagers and adults the opportunity to go outside their own neighborhoods and learn more about other parts of the city.

Founder Jahmal Cole says Chicago is often referred to as one of the most segregated cities and he wants to change that.

“By exposing teenagers to more outside their block or hood they can take ownership of their city and feel more optimistic towards their future,” said Cole.

Englewood is so often linked to violence, gangs and poverty, but Saturday afternoon a group of Chicagoans learned it's also a neighborhood with opportunities.

One stop on the itinerary was the Dream Café in the heart of Englewood.

“It's a beautiful thing,” said managing partner of Dream Café and Englewood native Howard Bailey. “You are only as strong as the weakest link and Englewood and other areas are seen as weak links and people think that way without really knowing what's going on in the neighborhoods.”

David Haley and Brendan Mclaughlin traveled the 12 miles from the north side of Chicago to check out the south side.

“I lived in Iowa before this and the towns were same conditions - it's not glamourous like downtown Chicago and the Loop is, but it's a neighborhood and it feels like a neighborhood,” said Hailey who lives in Old Town.

Cole says this is why he does this - these north side residents admitted they've never been to Englewood until they were invited.

“Today was all about cross pollinating Chicago and different perspectives,” said Cole.

Participants agree - it's an eye opening experience and they will make the trip down the Dan Ryan Expressway again - this time on their own.

“I think it will make them feel better about their city and themselves,” said Signe Murphy who’s from the northwest side of the city.

Next stop for this exploring program is South Shore, then Back of the Yards - both on the south side.

If you want to join this program or you want to invite teenagers into your neighborhood: