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PROVISO

FEBRUARY 2018

ositively

VOL. 1 NO. 1

YOUR STORIES. YOUR MAGAZINE.

UNDEFEATED

HOW ONE WOMAN’S FAITH INSPIRED A COMMUNITY

50

OPERATION UPLIFT

t h A nniversar y H onors

U nsung H eroes

STRATEGIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FIRM BREAKING NEW GROUND AND GAINING MOMENTUM INSPIRATION TD J AKES O n F inding Y our Purpos e

BLACK HIST ORY MONTH CALENDAR OF EVENTS


PPM Contents | what’s inside?

POSITIVELY UNDEFEATED DEBRA VINES HOW ONE WOMAN’S JOURNEY HELPED CHANGE A COMMUNITY STORY/PHOTO: MIKE SANDROLINI

POSITIVELY ON THE SCENE OPERATION UPLIFT COMMEMORATING 50-YEARS OF SERVICE PHOTOS: GEORGE STONE

POSITIVELY INSPIRATIONAL TD JAKES 4 STEPS TO OVERCOME SELF SABOTAGE AS TOLD TO LEIGH NEW PHOTO: TD JAKES ENTERPRISE

POSITIVELY PROGRESS STRATEGIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT ECONOMIC & INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT FULL SPEED AHEAD PHOTOS: SMP

POSITIVELY LATINO WEST SUBURBAN ACTION PROJECT STORY/PHOTOS | NICOLE TROTTIE

POSITIVELY BLACK BLACK HISTORY CALENDER OF EVENTS PPM TOP 10 PICKS BHM CELEBRATIONS

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 6


Positively Proviso | who we are?

COVER ART CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

A product of EdifyTM Magazines and subsidiary of Trottie Publishing Group, Inc.

EDITOR MIKE SANDROLINI

msandrolini@positivelyproviso.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS LEIGH NEWMAN CLAUDIA MEDINA translation L. NICOLE TROTTIE

CREATIVE & DESIGN SHALISHA WHEELER

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER JOHNNY BOSTON

PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING SALES L. NICOLE TROTTIE

ntrottie@positivelyproviso.com

ON THE COVER

Positively Proviso Magazine P.O. Box 33 Bloomingdale, IL 60108 (708)344.5975 www.positivelyproviso.com like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PositivelyProvisoMagazine/

Illustration: Valley of Dreams by Kathleen Wilson Kathleen Atkins Wilson is an artist since childhood, a professional since 1984. Today, countless numbers of African American artists have represented their works as lithographs and many acknowledge her as one of the pioneers in the industry. She has published 40-plus limited editions, distributes her art through galleries nationwide, participates in local and national art exhibits and adopts special projects. Her on-line gallery showcases artwork including originals, limited edition lithographs sculpture and hand pulled graphics. Over the years, Kathleen has been recognized for setting a standard of quality for her art and for the business of promoting it. Whether you are interested in purchasing a special painting or you are just starting to collect art, our goal is to make acquiring Kathleen Atkins Wilson's art a rewarding experience. Please visit our on line gallery at: www.kathleenawilson.com or better still, Visit her studio and gallery in Baldwin Hills Estates. For information call: (323) 292-0972

Printed in the USA. Distribution of the magazine does not constitute endorsement of information, products or services. We reserve the right to reject advertisement or listing which is not in keeping with the publication, Positively Proviso, standards. Although every precaution is taken to ensure accuracy of published material, we cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by contributors. In no event shall unsolicited material subject this publication to any claim for holding fees. Copyright ©2018 by EDIFY™ Trottie Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, in print or electronic, without written permission is prohibited.

Please RECYCLE this magazine, share it with another family POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 7


PositivelyPROVISO | the pursuit of your life is to come into purpose

Positively Inspirational!

4

Bishop T.D. Jakes Mistakes That Keep You from Finding Your Purpose As told to Leigh Newman

Photo: TD Jakes Enterprise

The minister and spiritual advisor weighs in on how to find your passion-and purpose.

L

iving on purpose, as I define it, is to become aware that we were all created to serve some specific function in life. Some of these purposes might be lofty, attracting the accolades of the world. Some of these purposes may be down-to-earth, such as raising a child, teaching or engaging in some other activity that may not be as acknowledged by society but is still significant. The pursuit of your life is to come into that purpose. And the waste of your life is to miss that purpose. The problem, though, for most of us is discovering what our purpose is. Here are a few mistakes we make while looking for it, ones that can distract or misdirect us. 1. The "But I Love It" Mistake For a few years, I was involved in music. I was a choir director, and I played the piano. I noticed that when our choir got ready to sing, people got more blessed out of me introducing the song and talking about the song than they did from the song itself. Gradually I began to realize that the tail was wagging the dog. I love music to this day, and I have a fairly good understanding of music and theory and how they operate. But that's not why I'm here on earth. Just because you admire something doesn't mean

it's your purpose. Don't let yourself be distracted by something that should be a hobby. If you, like me, enjoy music, that doesn't necessarily mean you should be the one directing the song. Buy some CDs or enjoy music on your headset, just don't let it take your focus. 2. The "But That Drives Me Crazy" Mistake Usually, when things drive us crazy, we're taught to walk away or ignore them. But sometimes it can help to take a closer look. For example, if somebody does something incorrectly, and their error drives us crazy, we shouldn't criticize the person-we should look at what our inability to tolerate their error can show us. What you cannot stand to see done badly is exactly where you ought to work. If you can't stand it when the church programs are done incorrectly or when the invitations are not sent out in time-if you want things in order-maybe you should consider working in an area of administration. Other people might not even be bothered by these things, but your inability to put up with anything less than excellence means that you have an interest there. You need to recognize, "This is an area I have passion about." 3. The "But My Dad Told Me to..." Mistake Sometimes your purpose may be totally opposite to the preparation of your life. It may be that you got a degree in one thing, but

continued on page 11

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 9


You have to have the courage to withstand other people’s opinions and ideas and to flow into your own purpose. TD JAKES ... it's not fulfilling to you because it's not the thing that you were really created to do. It may be that your family and friends have misdirected you to where they have a need. So your education, your background, your circumstances, your job end up restricting you from finding your fulfillment. This happened to me. My father owned a janitorial service, and it was his dream for us to own another family business together. As an adult, my brother started a windows-and-siding company and invited me to be a part of the it, but when I tried to twist myself into what my family wanted me to be, the business ultimately failed. I had substituted everyone's happiness for my own, trying to live up to my brother's dreams because I loved him and trying to live up to my father's expectations. But in reality, my purpose was in a completely different arena than anything they could have imagined. This happens to so many of us. Every day at work, you might be like Jonah in the story in Bible, right when the ship hits a storm. Jonah knew, "I'm really going in the wrong direction. I'm going into the mouth of a whale." You know the exact same thing. You have to have the courage to withstand other people's opinions and ideas and to flow into your own purpose. 4. The "Do Something-Anything" Mistake The lives we lead do not always lend time for inner reflection. We're so busy that we don't make space for prayer, for mediation. We don't really examine. We throw ourselves into this busyness so deeply that we don't take the time to pause for even a Sabbath, if you will. Everything else in creation has a Sabbath-a winter, a season of not being fruitful. But we're afraid of this. Look at fruit trees: They give up the winter for the spring. It's not healthy for livestock to produce all year long. We're so busy spitting out project after project after project that we don't give ourselves a chance to heal and restore and reflect and really find our internal heartbeat. It can be hard at first to identify that internal heartbeat, but recognizing it determines what will give you fulfillment and gratification. Think of it as an inward applause for every moment where you feel in harmony with yourself, and when you hear it-be it loud and clear or soft and slightly muffled-you'll know exactly what it is and what you're meant to do.

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POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 11


N

orthica Stone, founder, Operation Uplift, and curator, W est Town Museum of Cultural History, commemorates 50-years of keeping the dream alive

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Top Photo: Brothers Derek and David Grace recipients of the Hometown Dream Weaver Award Bottom Photo: George Stone and Mayor Andre Harvey, Bellwood, recipient of the Eugene Moore Public Service Award.

Top Photo: Luigi Miguel Villaviza Cabantog, Proviso West H.S., Student Council, President, Michelle Underdue-Davis, Randall McFarland, and Proviso West H.S. student volunteers.

Operation Uplift

50

th

Anniversary MANIFESTING THE DREAM IN THE MILLENNIAL

GENERATION Katrina Thompson, Mayor, Village of Broadview Left photo: Valerie Humphrey, Hometown Dream Weaver Award recipient

Far right bottom photo: Douglas White, Northica Stone, center, George Stone Far left bottom photo: Jonette Greenhow and Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Maywood.

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 13


PositivelyPROVISO | how to find the right home mortgage so you don’t overpay According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 63.7 percent of Americans own their home. But getting there wasn't necessarily easy. A 2017 NerdWallet survey reports that 42 percent of homeowners felt the home-buying process was stressful, a third said it was complicated, and 21 percent found it intimidating. To help make you a mortgage all-star, Ally Home has created "The Mortgage Playbook," a free, easy-to-read resource. Authored by members of the Ally Home Team, a dedicated group of loan experts, the "Playbook" features four sections that cover the entire field -- from a getting-started game plan to approval and closing on a mortgage. It also breaks down confusing financial terms, helping applicants avoid pain during the home buying process.

A

mple bedrooms and bathrooms? Check. A roomy kitchen? Check. A nice-sized backyard, storage space in the attic and just the right amount of curb appeal? Check, check and check.

Once you've found your perfect home, the next step is finding the right mortgage -- which can sometimes feel like you're competing in a contact sport, being blindsided by confusing requests or financial surprises as you go through the application process.

To help you prepare for your mortgage game day, here are three top tips from the experts at Ally: Maximize your financial fitness. There are five steps consumers should take to improve their "financial fitness" before applying for a mortgage. These include demonstrating stable employment, managing debt, paying down credit accounts, accumulating assets like savings or retirement accounts to boost credit histories, and reviewing (and correcting, if necessary) your credit reports. Know your numbers. Borrowers can take advantage of free online tools, such as the Affordability Calculator available at Ally.com, to determine how much house they can afford. Using two pieces of data -monthly income and monthly debt -- a borrower can quickly calculate their debt-to-income ratio. In most instances, this ratio should not exceed 43 percent, meaning your monthly mortgage payment and other debt obligations (car loan, school loan, credit card payments) should not comprise more than 43 percent of your gross monthly income. Know what type of mortgage is best for you. One of the biggest decisions borrowers make is whether to get a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage. When interest rates are low, a fixed-rate mortgage may be the better option. But if interest rates are higher, an adjustable rate mortgage could make sense because its lower initial rate means lower monthly payments for a specific time period (usually five, seven or 10 years) before the rate could change. For more valuable tips, visit ally.com/docs/bank/ally-home-playbook to download the complete "Mortgage Playbook." This free resource was created by Ally Home, whose mortgage products are offered by Ally Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. Just like you wouldn't hit the field without training and preparation, don't head into the home buying process without the right knowledge. Leverage free resources that can help you be prepared. Source: Statepoint Photo: (c) Monkey Business/stock.Adobe.com

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 14


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PositivelyPROGRESS

STRATEGIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT

TRANSFORMING

IDEAS INTO

REALITY

Senior Suites of Bellwood Living Community PHOTOS: STRATEGIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT

NICOLE TROTTIE

S

ince December 22, 2016, the villages along 25th Avenue both north and south of I-290 have enjoyed both dramatic increases in consumer traffic and dramatic decreases in traffic congestion. On a bitterly cold day just a year after it opened I found myself driving over the structure responsible for making this all possible and wondered: How did this 25th Avenue bridge between Melrose Park and Bellwood, this "Miracle on 25th" as former Bellwood Mayor Frank A. Pasquale called it at the ribbon cutting ceremony, come about? The firm responsible, Strategic Project Management, is also responsible for the new Thornton's that just opened at 25th and I-290; the Senior Suites of Bellwood; the Teen Zone on St. Charles; the Burger King on Mannheim and St. Charles; the Buddy Bear Car Wash at Mannheim and Gladys; the three phases of new Bellwood luxury home developments including Bellwood, Englewood, and Randolph Estates; the forthcoming flood-reducing Washington Avenue detention pond that services six communities; and numerous other projects aimed at enhancing and helping west inner-ring communities and their residents. Strategic Project Management ("SPM") was formed in 2009 by founders and partners Peter Tsiolis and Ron Kolimas. Gregory J. Peters serves as Executive Director of Financial Services, Evan Whitehead as Executive Director of Education Services and Aric Swaney as Senior Project Manager. There are other employees, past and present, who work in various capacities for the firm. I went to Tsiolis first to discuss the evolution of the 25th Avenue Bridge. "Back in the 1950's there had been discussion of building something at that location because the railroad crossing was so dangerous and congested," Tsiolis said. "In fact, for decades it was known as one of the worst in the state. So, in 2000 the state of Illinois created the

West Cook Railroad Relocation and Development Authority to study, design, and construct either an overpass or underpass, but the recession hit and by 2009 the project was on life support." Tsiolis went on to say that the West Cook Railroad Relocation and Development Authority, or "The Authority", was at risk of losing everything as it was unable to secure funding even for early phase engineering in the late 2000's economic climate, so they retained Strategic Project Management in the fall of 2009 to oversee the project as Program Manager. "We reviewed the plans and design of a proposed underpass, and we recommended that the project should instead be an overpass because the costs in building an overpass, coupled with the reduction in land acquisition, would save millions of dollars upfront and millions more in future maintenance." While state statute created the Authority nearly a decade earlier, the law didn't give it the power to tax. The $250,000 that was needed to finish Phase I was going to have to come from local governments, and neither Melrose Park nor Bellwood were in a position to provide that funding. "That left us looking at federal and state government," Tsiolis said. "If we were not successful in obtaining this amount in a relatively short period of time, the project's future would be in jeopardy." The Authority had secured $12 million from the Illinois Commerce Commission as part of their grade crossing fund, but those funds were only secured for five years, and that period was about to expire. SPM was able to convince the Illinois Department of Transportation to provide the project with a grant to finish Phase I, then they secured the ICC funding for another five years. The final funding was finally secured in the summer of 2012. "We had been actively pursuing funds for two years and then Governor Quinn included this project in a capitol bill." The "Miracle on 25th" has directly created business and development opportunities - like the recently opened Thornton's - that Tsiolis said have exceeded his expectations, but more importantly, he added,

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 16


has been the response and the benefit to the residents of Bellwood. the handling of economic development and the Finance Department. "We strive to take on projects that other people can't or won't, and we "I also served as the village's Chief of Staff from 2010 until the end of wanted to make sure this project would be completed because we felt 2017," Tsiolis said. "The additional services did not increase our fee. then, as we still do now, that the residents of the area deserve the best We accepted the additional duties because we truly enjoyed working quality of life and access possible. The work we do as a company has a major impact on thousands of individuals and families and it makes this more than a job. It's a passion we all share at SPM." Tsiolis went on to say that the bridge eliminated a dangerous railroad crossing, potentially saving lives, but also saving commuters thousands of hours waiting for the 190 trains that passed through the old crossing every day. "Money can't buy you more time. Wasting countless hours waiting for the train to clear the crossing kept fathers and mothers away from their kids. That time can now be better spent." In an interview with CBS2 Chicago in December of 2016, Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy L to R | Sam Balark, AT&T, Peter Tsiolis, SPM, Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey, and Blankenhorn said, "This new overpass pays immediate State Rep. Chris Welch, 7th District, dividends for communities nearby, but its impact will be felt for years throughout the region." PHOTO | JOHNNY BOSTON SPM has also been chosen, in collaboration with Globetrotters Engineering, as a Merit Award Winner in the ACEC- in the village and specifically wanted to help out the mayor and his Illinois 2018 Engineering Excellence Awards for its work on the administration during the economic crisis that was plaguing not only bridge. Tsiolis said, "Greg Boltz of Globetrotters was instrumental in Bellwood, but the entire nation." moving our collaborative efforts forward to complete this project." While the bridge has helped bring people and businesses to Bellwood, many of SPM's projects, like the Teen Zone, have created deeper connections within the community. In 2007 and 2008, Tsiolis The Best Buy Around created and implemented the previously mentioned village's computer rebate program and computer centers in partnership with Best Buy. When a building on St. Charles Road was donated to the village after a bank foreclosure, Tsiolis knew it was the perfect place to plant the revitalization seed for this blighted street. "Transforming an old, dilapidated and vacant building into something that could help kick start the redevelopment was a no-brainer." But Tsiolis credits Mayor Harvey, who was Director of Public Safety at the time, for truly making it work. "He assumed the role and responsibility of www.positivelyproviso.com making the Teen Zone a success. He volunteered his time and energy to running Buddy Bear Carwash located on Mannheim Rd. the place and being there to serve as a role model to the kids." Tsiolis nodded his head, "he was the soul of the When asked how SPM came to have the Village of Bellwood as a place." But investing in future projects to improve life in Bellwood was client, Tsiolis said, "We were retained by the village to serve as its Project Management Department in 2009. Former Mayor Frank going to be tough if the village couldn't get back in the black. Pasquale asked me to consider taking on this role because he was Reducing an $8.5-million-dollar deficit is daunting task for any organimpressed with the village's computer rebate program and centers that ization, and SPM faced that challenge for a client that had a total yearI had devised in 2007 to deal with the digital divide. He felt we could ly budget of $28 million. Adding to the difficulty was the staggering provide this approach to handling all the village's future projects." long-term debt that was nearing $100 million; $31 million of which Tsiolis continued, "The village had privatized its Project Management was due at the end of the calendar year. "We needed to address the Department in 2005. The thought was by privatizing the department deficit and start dealing with the debt simultaneously all without cutthe village would bring in professionals to run it and save money since ting services, eliminating jobs or raising taxes," said Tsiolis. SPM a private firm would not be receiving any healthcare benefits or pensions." immediately went to work and provided: seven balanced budgets In the early months of 2010, SPM expanded their scope to include (with surpluses) in seven consecutive years without a tax increase, and

PPM

continued on page 20

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PositivelyPROVISO |

how ordinary people overcome extraordinary obstacles

UNDEFEATED How one woman’s journey changed a community

Debra Vines’ life mission to support Jason led her on the path to providing resources to thousands of children diagnosed with Autism and the families who love them.

MIKE SANDROLINI

W

Since its inception in 2007, The Answer Inc. has served around 4,000 families primarily in Proviso Township and the west side of Chicago.

hen Debra Vines' son, Jason, was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old in the late 1980s, the number of children being diagnosed was one in 1,000. Today, one in 50 children is diagnosed with autism. "I think that the numbers have increase (over the years) because a lot of children were misdiagnosed," said Vines, a Maywood resident, explaining why the number of children diagnosed with autism has spiked. "The spectrum is so wide from mild to severe (autism) and those that are in the middle-usually PDD (persuasive development disorder) and that falls into the autism spectrum." Vines' desire to help Jason and provide autistic children and their families around the area with support and assistance led to her found The Answer, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering families impacted by autism and other developmental differences such as Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy. "Our core is autism, but we don't turn anyone away," Vines said. Since its inception in 2007, The Answer Inc. has served around 4,000 families primarily in Proviso Township and the west side of Chicago. "So many families are always asking questions, so we want to be able to provide the answers," Vines said in a recent PBS NewsHour special that featured Jason and Vines' husband, James

Harlan (see PBS NewsHour Special later in this story). Locally, The Answer, Inc. partners with the Maywood Park District, where the Spectrum University Tutoring Program has been taking place from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. each Saturday and continues until April 22. There, teenagers from ages 13-17 with autism and developmental disorders are taught by instructors that fully enhance and engage each student through reading, writing math and social skills. Additionally, a "Music N' Me" program where teens age 13-17 with autism and developmental disorders are taught nutrition, dance and exercise is taking place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. each Saturday through April 22 at the Maywood Park District. The Answer, Inc. also has a partnership with the Forest Park Community Center, and recently expanded its services to the West Humboldt Park Garfield Development Council on Chicago's west side. There, families can gather information about autism and special needs, gain resources education and support, and network with other families and community agencies. An open house was held March 1. The Answer, Inc. fields calls from an array of individuals, family members, schools and even legislators seeking help with autismrelated issues and steers them to services that can help them. "We don't do treatment," Vines said, "but what we do is help the families throughout the entire journey as it relates to advocacy, their

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 18


peace for their children, supportive services, IEP (Individual Educational Report) support and awareness for the community as well." An Individual Education Report is required if a child receives special education services. It documents a child's particular learning needs, what services the school provides and how progress will be measured. "A lot of times families don't know how to navigate their way through the IEP process," Vines said, "so we help them out with that as well." Vines added that most of the calls she gets are from family members. "I ask them to come into the office, just to see what they need," she explained. "A lot of times family members just want somebody to talk to, someone that understands, because our friends-they love us and they tolerate us-but they don't understand the journey that we go through. "A lot of family members call just to vent. Or a lot of times they'll have services right around the corner from them, but they don't know how to navigate through the system. That's what we teach families how to do." For family members who have a child with autism or a developmental disability, as Vines mentioned, "it's a journey." "And it changes all the time," she said. "Right now my son is 29 and he's going through a whole new gamut of adulthood. When a family gets the diagnosis of autism-and primarily a lot of families of color-they get the diagnosis late because a lot of us don't take our children to the doctor as much as we should. And then when you talk about screenings, a screening cost money." PBS NEWSHOUR SPECIAL PBS NewsHour aired a special on autism in early February, titled, "Children of color with autism face disparities of care and isolation." The segment noted that "autism rates among African-Americans are the same as among whites, but African-American children are often diagnosed with autism at an older age, missing potential years of treatment." When it comes to autism, the program pointed out, "diagnosis skews white." Laura Anthony, a Children's National Medical center psychologist, said during the segment: "If you're anything other than a 7-year-old white boy-even if you're a 7-year-old white girl-you're less likely to be identified with autism." The Centers for Disease Control reports that the autism rate among 8-year-old blacks is 13.2 out of every 1,000-that's 20 percent lower than the autism rate for white 8-year-olds. Among Latinos, the autism rate is 50 percent lower than for white children. The undercounting of children of color, the program said, denies them appropriate care. Jason is one of the fortunate ones. As noted earlier, he was diagnosed with autism at age 18 months. At first, Vines had to travel a half-hour by train to go to a support group. She was the only AfricanAmerican woman in the group, and while she emphasizes that she was welcomed by the group and treated well, she said she felt isolated because the children in Vines' support group were already in specialized services. Vines said she had to go outside of her immediate

Debra and her son, Jason pictured at The Answer Inc gala

community to get help and support, instead of having that support and help where she lived. "I found out, 'You're doing it all wrong, Debra; you're doing it all wrong,' " she said. "And it's because of where you live." There were children of color with autism, along with their families, in Vines' community, but they needed to organize and come together to support their children and each other-just like families in white communities have been doing for decades. Hence, www.positivelyproviso.com what led her to eventually found The Answer, Inc. James Harlan, who's part of The Answer, Inc. board of directors, admitted he once felt embarrassment that Jason wasn't like his friends' kids, but that was long ago. Now, James runs a program called, "Just for Men, for fathers whose children have autism, and he says he's grateful to have Jason as his son. "I tell the men at the meeting that I've learned how to love since I've had Jason," Harlan told PBS NewsHour. "Because he loves unconditionally." The Answer, Inc., is located at 7600 Roosevelt Road, Suite, 12, Forest Park. For more information, call 708-296-5651 or go online to: theanswerinc.org

PPM

The Undefeated is the premier platform and regularly appearing feature for exploring the intersections of life, that often challenge us to run the race and live our best life. We enlighten and encourage with innovative storytelling, original reporting and provocative commentary. Have a story to tell or know someone who does? Shoot an email to the editor: kkring@positivelyproviso.com

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 19


debt reduction nearing $18 million with additional savings as part of a multi-year bond refinancing effort. The village has received an A stable rating at Standard & Poor's for the past 3 years. "Peter and his team were great to work with throughout the process of refunding Village of Bellwood's debt and their energy, enthusiasm and technical expertise provided a lot of leadership," said Phoebe S. Selden, Senior Vice President of Acacia Financial Group in a previous interview. "Their budget strategies were on point and paved the way for us to seek and obtain a four-notch credit rating upgrade from S&P." Tsiolis added, "The dramatically improved financial picture has allowed us to improve Bellwood's infrastructure, purchase new police and fire vehicles and address various other previously unaddressed issues."

the Senior Center. Swaney, who began overseeing the Randolph Estates subdivision development when Scott Phillips retired in August of 2017, said he joined the firm for a number of reasons, but that the new homes were the clincher. "Peter (Tsiolis) and the others at SPM told me that by joining the firm I would be a part of creating and building things that would help change lives for the better," Swaney said, "and when I saw the passion with which the housing was approached I was sold." The 12 single-family homes are nearly sold out and setting real estate price records for the village. "These new homes," Swaney continued, "combined with the bridge and other projects done with the desire to help improve lives and build something are what make this firm and working for it both a pleasure and a privilege."

Washing Away a Tax The Suite Life When SPM approached the owner of Buddy Bear Car Wash, Phillip Continuing to grow Bellwood is as much about planting its future DeGeratto, to open a location in Bellwood, Tsiolis said he knew the as it is about nurturing the quality of life for those who live here. projected real estate taxes would make it impossible. That's because That's why turning another old, vacant building into a viable part of the property was not in one of the village's numerous Tax Increment Finance Districts, and thus the village could not help with any incentives. "The Buddy Bear problem wasn't unique to them," Tsiolis said. "Other businesses had also faced this issue and opted not move to town." While the county had incentives that reduced property taxes on vacant industrial and certain commercial properties, there was a class of commercial projects that were left out. Buddy Bear was one of them, but Tsiolis, and by extension SPM, is not one to take no for an answer Tsiolis and his team met with the assessor's office and wrote a new law, now known as the Class 7c tax incentive. The Cook County Board passed the law unanimously. "Buddy Bear was the first recipient of the new 7c incentive," Tsiolis said with pride. "Writing the laws was easy - getting them to pass it is generally the hard part, but Randolph Estate luxury home development. we were able to get it done." "Peter and the team at SPM were instrumental in the creation and the community was so important. The Senior Suites of Bellwood passage of the new Cook County 7c tax incentive," said DeGerrato located at 3201 Randolph came about after a deal to sell the building after the law was passed. "Without the incentive our Bellwood, and "get it back on the tax rolls" fell through. Tsiolis says it was fortunate. Berwyn and Broadview locations would not be possible. The incen"We were able to put together the complex deal in the height of the tive has led to millions of dollars in new development and new jobs." recession," he said. "Senior Lifestyle Corporation is one of the preem"Numerous businesses have now benefited by the law that was creinent senior housing developers out there, and we were truly lucky ated by us," Tsiolis added. But the real winner from the incentive that they saw the value of building in town." Tsiolis said, is the village. "It creates jobs, occupies vacant buildings The deal involved a lot of effort on the part of SPM and the assis- and generates much needed sales tax." tance of Cook County Housing and the Illinois Housing Authority. Today, 89 seniors live in the four story, $20 million-dollar building. Stopping the Floods "The senior building was special because it helps the members of sociForty percent of the Village of Bellwood sits in a flood plain and ety that deserve our help," Tsiolis said with a hint of emotion. many of the residents have experienced flooding first hand. But with "Providing a beautiful and safe place for them to live is very rewarding." an initial solution to build a detention pond in Melrose Park coming in Robert Gawronski, Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at a staggering cost of $120 million, Tsiolis said the project was pretfor Senior Lifestyle, was quoted as saying, "No task is too daunting for ty much dead in the water. "The residents of the region who continuStrategic Project Management, especially if it can benefit the commu- ally suffered from excessive flooding deserved a solution." nity at large." He added that Strategic Project Management "brings an Bellwood and six other communities are impacted by Addison efficiency to local government that is rarely seen today." Creek when it floods. SPM turned to the Metropolitan Water SPM has also helped to build new residential homes, in addition to Reclamation District and found a site in Bellwood. But Tsiolis had to ones they helped build on Bellwood and Englewood, right across from prove it was a better site. "You can imagine the reservations that

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 20


25th Avenue bridge construction between Bellwood and Melrose Park. | Photo: Strategic Project Management

The three phases of new Bellwood luxury home developments including Bellwood, Englewood, and Randolph Estates; theforthcoming flood-reducing Washington Avenue detention pond that services six communities; and numerous other projects aimed at enhancing and helping west inner-ring communities and their residents. MWRD had when we proposed a replacement site. I'm sure they thought - but never said it - you're a lawyer, what do you know about detention ponds? Well, I knew enough to hire K-Plus Engineering to look at what we thought would work," Tsiolis said. It turned out that the Bellwood location was even more beneficial than the original. Today, they are finishing up the demolition of the old warehouse on Washington and wrapping up the engineering. Construction of the new reservoir will begin this summer. Terrence J. O'Brien, retired Commissioner/President of MWRD, said in a previous interview that "[SPM's] commitment to finding a solution for the client's needs is paramount. This dedication to problem solving led to the revival of a languishing $120-million-dollar detention pond project that services six communities." "What makes this project really special is the impact it will have for all those families that will be removed from the flood plain," Tsiolis added. "The excessive flood insurance premiums will be a thing of the past. The constant fear every time it rains will be a memory for thousands of residents. That is the biggest reward we could ever want." The Road Ahead When asked about how it feels to see all of SPM's projects being completed, Tsiolis said, "It's extremely satisfying." He added, "When I got my Masters in Public Administration before heading to law school, then suing Dr. Dre in Federal Court and also securing the largest recording contract for any musical act (Soil with J Records) in the history of Chicago, I never thought I would somehow return to anything I learned in grad school."

"I never envisioned any of this," Tsiolis said. "Driving past these projects makes me proud of everything we have accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Finishing projects that had languished for decades is truly rewarding." Tsiolis acknowledged SPM didn't do it alone. He credits former Mayor Pasquale and his board for green lighting their ideas. "They bought into the vision we developed for the village and the plan we had to bring the village forward." Tsiolis continued, "None of the ideas or projects would be possible if they didn't approve of them and ultimately vote to proceed." Tsiolis said Mayor Harvey is committed to continuing their partnership, directing SPM to keep thinking outside the box. Tsiolis also www.positivelyproviso.com hopes to collaborate again with the Authority. "The trust they placed in us to get the bridge project done after the decades of empty promises makes me extremely grateful to them." As for the future of SPM, Tsiolis said, "We look forward to growing the company. We look forward to taking on more challenging projects and delivering the positive results with which we have become synonymous." He concluded by saying that in Bellwood, SPM is "eager to work closely with mayor Harvey, his administration, and his staff to build on the recent success." As I drove over the 25th Avenue bridge after meeting Tsiolis and his team at SPM, I realized the road ahead doesn't just connect Melrose Park to Bellwood; it connects these communities by providing a sense of progress, promise and pride.

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 21

PPM


honra a la inmigración' agentes de cambio', esperanza 2018 trae reforma L. NICOLE TROTTIE CLAUDIA MEDINA | translation

PROVISO | Los residentes y estudiantes, documentados e indocumentados, se reunieron antes del año nuevo para el banquete anual del P.A.S.O para conmemorar su compromiso y éxito para construir comunidades más fuertes de color y celebrar conexiones con aliados a través de los suburbios occidentales. Así reconocer los agentes de cambio para la protección de la inmigración y las leyes en Illinois y los Estados Unidos. José Antonio Vargas, el periodista ganador del Premio Pulitzer, y el que dio la nota clave, el mismo una persona indocumentada, dijo a los que asistieron a la cena anual de recaudación de fondos para PASO, que hay mucho más trabajo de inmigración que se tenía que lograr especialmente después de que el Fiscal General Jeff Sesiones hizo el anuncio a principios de noviembre de 2017, que la administración del Presidente Donald Trump había terminado efectivamente el programa DACA (acción diferida para las llegadas de la niñez). "Tenemos cerca de 800.000 soñadores que dependen de nosotros", dijo Vargas, un receptor del prestigioso Premio de Valor 2017. Medina: una mujer de propósito y misión Claudia Medina, una líder cívica de P.A.S.O - Proyecto de Acción de los Suburbios del Oeste, y miembro del Comité Directivo que ayudo en la campaña para un Illinois Acogedor, el Fideicomiso y la primera Latina elegida al Distrito de 209 de Proviso, concertó, "Hay mucho trabajo por hacer". Medina lideró el esfuerzo detrás de la decisión del Distrito 209 de aprobar una "resolución de Escuela Protectora y Segura para salvaguardar la seguridad de todos los alumnos en la escuela. El Distrito 209 aprobó la medida en un voto de 5-1 en febrero de 2017. Medina dice que la decisión de la Junta envía un mensaje de apoyo a los estudiantes y padres indocumentados. "Teníamos asesores dentro de nuestro distrito mal informando [erróneamente por su puesto] diciéndole a los estudiantes indocumentados que no podían inscribirse en la Universidad o que no podían aceptar becas debido a su estatus migratorio. Eso ha terminado ahora ", dijo Medina.

Medina no sólo fue instrumental en la decisión del distrito de proporcionar servicios adicionales de apoyo a los estudiantes indocumentados que pueden verse afectados por la decisión reciente del Presidente, sino que ella fue la fuerza motriz detrás del proceso más fuerte del estado a nivel estatal para proporcionar protecciones contra la deportación de inmigrantes injustamente. "Llamé al representante Welch para pedir una reunión. Le dije que hay que hacer algo en Illinois acerca de la reforma migratoria para proteger a los indocumentados... los que viven en las sombras merecen ser tratados con decencia humana, compasión e igualdad. " Medina dijo. La reunión fue la primera de varias que se unieron a la reforma estatal migratoria en todo el estado. Welch: Acta de Fideicomiso de Illinois La ley de fideicomiso, patrocinada por el representante Chris Welch (D), Distrito 7, Hillside, ladera, y co-patrocinado por la representante Lisa Hernández, aprobada en la casa 62-49 con 7 abstenciones, prohíbe a la policía local de cumplir con las solicitudes de detención inconstitucional de la Federal Agencia de inmigraciones. La ley de fideicomiso también prohíbe a la policía local mantener a la gente en la estación de policía por un tiempo prolongado con fines inmigratorios sin órdenes judiciales. Esta ley prohíbe a la policía local detener a personas indocumentadas para buscar o arrestar a alguien basándose en su estatus migratorio o de ciudadanía. La histórica reforma migratoria de Welch marca a Illinois como el estado más fuerte de la nación creando una clara distinción entre el trabajo de la policía local y los agentes de inmigración federales. Para el gobernador de Illinois Bruce Rauner, la decisión de firmar el proyecto de ley no fue fácil, sin embargo, reconoció que la ley de fideicomiso es una "ley muy importante". En una entrevista con Positively Proviso, Rauner dijo: "Hay gente que no quería que firmara la ley, mucha gente", dijo Rauner. "pero estoy de acuerdo con una poliza de inmigración Pro-comprensiva, y lo he estado toda mi vida". "La nación está observando" Estela Bara, activista y líder de la comunidad, P.A.S.O, habló de la ley de Trust Act en el banquete del viernes, "Me siento más segura y

continued on page 24

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 22


PositivelyPURPOSEFUL |

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impact storytelling and the power of positivety

hen you get down to it, positivity is who and what we truly are. That's right, by nature we are all pure positive beings - with radiant souls from which our power and purpose emanate. Simply meditate on the scripture, "He who lives in me…" to really connect with its fundamental meaning. But, here's the deal… it's up to us to choose and seek out and use that power or choose to ignore it. Are you using it to your fullest potential right now? I know I haven't always directed my energy positively. Heck, we all fall short. And when we do -- move out of alignment with source and all seems to go wrong - it's our internal guidance system that points us back on the path of alignment. It is in essence, a good thing!

The Team at Positively Proviso Magazine is dedicated to promoting storytelling in all of its forms through print to social media. Our writers and our readers come from all walks of life. They are story listeners, story lovers, story creators, and storytellers.

L. Nicole Trottie

We aim to highlight and support great initiatives in the community that provide innovative and effective answers to societal issues. We hope to counterbalance mainstream narratives vastly disseminated by traditional news media by giving those with lesser access a prominent voice.

I created Positively Proviso Magazine as the information hub for opening up and bridging new perspective. By highlighting solutions and promoting role models, It’s my hope to provide sources of inspiration and encourage To change ourselves (and communities) effectively, we first positive actions from those in the communities we serve. have to change our perceptions, wrote Stephen Covey, author, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In fact, choosing to see life Think about what positive perspective can add into your life through the lens of positive perspective can free us from a world today. I sincerely hope you enjoy this issue and those to come. of hurt, struggle and bondage. FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR DAILY INSPIRATION: https://www.facebook.com/positivelyprovisomagazine/ So why not start by changing the narrative.

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POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 23


Positively PROGRESSIVE más segura de mi comunidad y para mis amigos y seres queridos, cuando sé que interactuar con la aplicación de la ley no terminará en la explotación o la deportación," "Al aprobar esta ley, nuestros líderes están mostrando a la nación que Illinois cree en mantener el derecho civil y constitucional para todos", dijo Welch desde el podio. "Los inmigrantes son bienvenidos aquí en Illinois. La ley de fideicomiso garantiza que el estatus migratorio de una persona no los pone en riesgo de ser entregado a las autoridades de inmigración. " "La nación está observando Illinois", dijo Hernández. "Estoy muy orgullosa de apoyar la salvaguarda más fuerte del estado y en nuestro país para nuestras comunidades inmigrantes, que ahora más que nunca necesitan ser capacitados de seguir con seguridad sus vidas diarias, dejar de esconderse en las sombras, sin el riesgo de ser deportados", agregó. Eduardo Muñoz, un residente de Oak Park, llegó a los Estados Unidos desde México con sus padres a la edad de seis años. Su historia, al igual que otros, habla de la inequidad, la vergüenza y el miedo a ser indocumentado. Sin embargo, Muñoz nunca perdió la esperanza o el optimismo que pronto el cambio vendría. Un graduado de la salvedad West High School y PASO, Director interno, Muñoz ha estado activo con PASO desde su iniciación en 2010. Como compañero, trabajando muy de cerca con los estudiantes locales, el personal de

Claudia Medinah

secundaria, y las parroquias locales para establecer el Dream Act, un programa de ciudadanía que fue estipulado en 2012. "A través de los años, he visto y experimentado las victorias de PASO a nivel local y estatal. La dedicación y la visión de los líderes de PASO han hecho un impacto en las vidas de miles de personas, incluyendo la mía. Siento una responsabilidad moral, un deseo profundo, para ayudar y empoderar a otros necesitados ", dijo Muñoz. Medina dijo que el propio PASO creció de un grupo estudiantil en la preparatoria del distrito 209 en Proviso West a comienzos de la década del 2000. Los estudiantes indocumentados protestaron,

llamándose a sí mismos los soñadores, después de la propuesta Ley Federal de los Soñadores, que pavimentaron el camino para lograr graduados indocumentados de la escuela secundaria para recibir la posibilidad de matricularse en universidades del estado. El Dream Act nunca fue aprobado. "Hemos dicho a los estudiantes que algunos de los primeros soñadores eran estudiantes de Proviso que cambiaron las reglas y les dieron un futuro diferente", dijo Medina. "cambiaron la vida de tanta gente". Si bien DACA terminará oficialmente en seis meses, ahora esta en manos de la cámara y el Senado para formular una solución para proteger a los que, independientemente de su país de origen, sean de color cafe, negro y / o blanco, viven en las sombras. La semana pasada, el juez de distrito de Estados Unidos William Alsup en San Francisco emitió una orden provisional para detener los planes de terminar el programa, mientras que una demanda que impugna la decisión de la administración de Trump está pendiente. Los homenajeados de PASO 2017 Immigration Change Maker incluyen: Alice Cottingham, Premio visionario de cambio de fabricante; El representante Emanuel "Chris" Welch y Lisa Hernandez, los galardonados con Unity Change Maker.

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 24


PTMAN | 425 Bohland Ave | Bellwood | Feb 11 The Proviso Township Ministerial Alliance’s monthly breakfast will take place on Feb. 11 at God’s House of Brotherly Love Church, 425 Bohland Ave. in Bellwood. To RSVP for this meeting, which will focus on Black History Month. Contact PTMAN Chairman Bishop Reginald Saffo at (708) 397-6944 for more info.

West Town Museum of Cultural History | 104 S. 5th Ave., Maywood on Saturday, Feb. 11 Come and support a fundraiser for Maywood’s own West Town Museum of Cultural History that features a special screening of the award-winning documentary, “Pirate Pride: The Winning Tradition of Proviso East Basketball.” The screening will take place at the West Town Museum of Cultural History, . Doors open at 6pm. Adult admission is only $5 and children $3 (donations and yearly memberships to the museum are highly encouraged). Please contact the Uplift Center, 104 S. 5th Ave., at (708) 516-2637 $

Bellwood Public Library | African American Cemetery Safari .| Bellwood Public Library | 600 Bohland Ave |Wednesday, Feb. 15 | 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Celebrate Black History Month with an evening of photos and stories of the final resting places of influential blacks., including Gene Baker, Emmett Till, Dred Scott and Augustus Tolton, among other African Americans buried in Chicagoland and Illinois cemeteries. Registration is required. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Sign up by calling the library at (708) 547-7393 ext. 4. FREE

Triton Black History Closing Event | River Grove, IL Tuesday, Feb. 28 | 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. A salute creativity in Black History. Enjoy performances from Bellwood District 88’s Roosevelt Middle School band and a combined choir from

SAVE the DATE Provisos East and West. This free event will take place at Triton College, 2000 S. 5th Ave., inside of the Robert M. Collins Auditorium (R Building). For more info, contact Freida SpillerIverson at: freidaspilleriverson@triton.edu. FREE

ing more than 4,000 in-school singers, will be joined by Voice of Chicago at Symphony Center for this Black History Month performance. Feb 14, 15, 16 @ 10:45am FREE

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ways to celebrate

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, IL 5700 S Lake Shore Dr | Chicago

Letters from Langston | 9055 S Houston Ave | Chicago | Feb 7 6:30 pm

Evelyn Crawford and MaryLouise Patterson are the editors of the 2016 book Letters from Langston: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond, which presents correspondence between Langston Hughes and four confidantes—including Crawford and Patterson’s parents. They’ll discuss the project and present original letters and artifacts, followed by a book signing. FREE

BLACK

HISTORY MONTH

Described as the nation’s longest-running exhibition of African-American art, the Museum of Science and Industry’s annual display features more than 100 works annually. Artists represented range from professionals to local high school students. Daily 9:30am–4pm. See website for extended seasonal hours www.msichicago.org/explore/whatshere/exhibits/black-creativity-juriedart-exhibition/ $

Black History Month Concert Series | 220 S Michigan Ave Chicago The Chicago Children’s Choir, featur-

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story Of Black Colleges And Universities | DuSable Museum of African American Art | Feb 17 | 5 pm| Catch a free screening of this new documentary about the legacy of HBCUs by filmmaker Stanley Nelson, followed by a panel discus-

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 25

sion with the director, United Negro College Fund CEO Michael Lomax, Chicago Scholars president Dominique Jordan Turner and journalist Sylvia Ewing. FREE

“Barbara Jones-Hogu: Resist, Relate, Unite 19681975” | DePaul University Art Museum | Feb 4 - 28 11 am Chicago-native artist Barbara JonesHogu was a leader of the Black Arts Movement and a founding member of the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA) who was a contributor to the infamous South Side mural, the Wall of Respect. "Resist, Relate, Unite 19681975" is her first museum exhibition, showcasing prints, lithographs and woodcuts that celebrate African American culture. FREE

Chicago Black Restaurant Week | Feb 11 - 18 | Chicago various locations Designed to recognize AfricanAmerican owned eateries in the Chicagoland area, Chicago Black Restaurant Week returns with an exciting lineup. This year's week invites foodies to check out the area's hidden gems and maybe find a new favorite in the process. For information visit: http://chiblackrestaurantweek.com


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Expired term-members of the Maywood Police and Fire Commission defy Mayor’s call to step down, increase pay KEVIN BEESE REPORTS, SEE PAGE 2

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Proviso West boys soccer enjoy best season in almost 10 years MIKE SANDROLINI, SEE

PAGE 6

THE ANSWER, INC.

LEADS THE WAY IN HELPING AUTISTIC CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES LOCALLY

PUMPS UP THE BEATS

> P2

Maywood Old Timer’s Picnic; a throwback for residents

By Mike Sandrolini

FOR NEWS BRIEF SEE PAGE 7

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hen Debra Vines' son, Jason, was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old in the late 1980s, the number of children being diagnosed was one in 1,000. Today, one in 50 children is diagnosed with on l eye Watchfu autism. Proviso East cheerleaders dazzle during Home "IMaywood think that theWidows numbers have increase Back-to-School parade PAGE 3 REPORTS, BEESE (over the years) because a lot ofSEEchildren KEVIN SEE PAGE 3 were misdiagnosed," said Vines, a Maywood resident, explaining why the number of children diagnosedan withJourna autism l West Suburb has spiked. "The spectrum is so wide from EUGENE ‘GENE’ MOORE: mild to severeFruits (autism) those that are in Farewell: of aand friendship the middle-usually PDD (persuasive devel WESTSUBURBANJOURNAL.COM/CATEGORY/NEWS WESTSUBURBANJOURNAL.COM

www.westsuburbanjournal.co

Photo Mike Sandrolini

POSITIVELY PROVISO MAGAZINE 26

NEWS

BROADVIEW Miracle of Maywood

m

Illinois appellate court has ruled that Broadview trustees have the right to have their own Week Online > P3 legalTrending counsel. This

H

Photo Mike Sandrolini/WSJ

arvey, whose roots run deep in the community, ue to succeed" wants the villag and he wants the village's variou e to "contintheir continuity. s departments “I want it to be to maintain western subur a great city, not bs. My family PTMAN partners with churches, 's been here since just a good city in the and I'm raisin g my grandkids 1969, I raised businesses, public sectorwant to getthe next my kids here here now. One person that was thing I didn't going to step youths summer jobs continue the want: into great things that I didn't have already been the seat of mayor to come in and not started." www.westsuburbanjournal.com YOUTH SUMMER JOBS

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Andre Harvey, first African American mayor elect, takes his seat at the helm of Bellwood. > p. 3


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PPM February 2018 Digital Print Edition  

Your Stories. Your Magazine. Positively Proviso Magazine is dedicated to promoting storytelling in all of its forms through print to socia...

PPM February 2018 Digital Print Edition  

Your Stories. Your Magazine. Positively Proviso Magazine is dedicated to promoting storytelling in all of its forms through print to socia...

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