Clergymen Leading ‘Quiet Movement’ with Efforts to Feed, Clothe and Employ Area Youth

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Kywuan Griffin, 13, receives a certificate recognizing his participation of PTMAN’s summer youth employment program from the organization’s chairman, Bishop Reginald Saffo. | Photo Provided 

Thursday, September 15, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

One local religious organization is leading the effort to employ, clothe and feed young people in Proviso Township and beyond.

During its annual community breakfast, held at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Forest Park last Saturday, the Proviso Township Ministerial Alliance Network (PTMAN) acknowledged the young people who completed its summer employment program. The organization also provided a status update on its numerous initiatives at Proviso East and Proviso West High Schools.

One of those young benefactors is Kywuan Griffin, a 13-year-old resident of Hanover Park who attends United Faith Baptist Church in Maywood, where Bishop Reginald Saffo, PTMAN’s chairman, is pastor. Griffin worked at the Maywood Police Department over the summer. PTMAN’s network of area churches paid his wages.

“Some of his work was easy and some of it was difficult,” said Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley of Griffin’s summer employment. “He got the chance to participate in a meeting with a U.S. congressman, but he also washed the walls of the police department.”

It was an experience for which Griffin expressed gratitude.

“That was the first summer I job I had,” the teenager said. “It was good. It was a great way for me to find something to do so I wouldn’t just be sitting at home.”

Griffin said the experience also enabled him to form relationships with police officers, with whom he interacted as humans and not merely as media portrayals. The same reality held true for his interaction with the various elected officials he met.

“It’s good to know they’re doing something positive,” he said of the politicians he met. “[As for the police], I got a different perspective on them, because it was more than what I see on TV and in the news where they’re killing people. It’s different.”

In addition to the summer employment program, PTMAN also established a continuous presence in District 209 high schools with its Project Backpack program, which allowed the clergymen to provide care packages to students in need, and its truancy efforts.

Proviso West Principal Oscar Hawthorne called the sum of PTMAN’s actions last semester a “quiet movement.”

“We have students who are legally homeless and those students sometimes received care packages,” Hawthorne said at Saturday’s meeting. “It was just about meeting the need. There’s this commitment to the community that is renewed and refreshed.”

Maywood Community Policing Officer Pirsia Allen, an ordained minister and PTMAN member, said the organization’s motto is, ‘This is what we do.’

“What we do is make it happen,” Allen said, before Proviso West Assistant Principal Latoya McIntosh told the Saturday audience that, in addition to food, some of her students needed toiletries.

“The Bible says you have not because you ask not,” Allen said moments after McIntosh’s request. “She just asked. Well, we have the toiletries, the tooth paste, the deodorant and everything. It’s in the back.” VFP

Left to right: Jarod Ivy, who worked at the Maywood Park District; Darnyce Springfield, who worked at Marcus Wright Dental in Maywood; and Malik Davis, who worked at Maywood Appliance, receive certificates of recognition. 

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