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Purpose Over Pain Gives Valuable Lessons In Life To Teens.

PURPOSE OVER PAIN GIVES VALUABLE LESSONS IN LIFE TO YOUTH Teaches basketball skills and mentoring at the ARK By Chinta Strausberg Purpose Over Pain, a group of grieving parents, are using their pain to not only fill avoid in their lives but because each lost a child to gun violence they filled Saint Sabina’s ARK gym up with dozens of energetic children seeking a safe haven toplay and a place to get positive mentoring, basketball skills and good free food all under the same roof. Purpose Over Pain is a group of grieving parents who each lost a child to gun violence but rather than mourn their loss at home instead spent late Saturday night helping other youth by holding basketball clinics and mentoring at Saint Sabina’s ARK. The coed group of youth, whose ages ranged from 7 to 26-years old, played on six courts at the ARK, located at 7800 South Racine. They practiced making hoops and they were elementary and high school students each looking to be a star on the Saint Sabina basketball court. Glancing at the students, Father Michael L. Pfleger said he loves Purpose Over Pain because “They have taken all of their energy to care about other kids. They lost their children and know they can’t do anything to change that, but they can make a safer world for the children who are still out here. I love them for their courage, and I love them for their passion for other children…. If we can do this 24/7, I would be happy.” And that is what Tommie Bosley, president of Purpose Over Pain, would like to do but in the interim he and his wife, Pamela who lost their son, Terrell, 18, on April 4, 2006 while putting his musical instruments into his car in a church parking lot, are giving hope and renewed life to children who want to escape the violent streets of Chicago. That is why his group is offering “Safe Saturday Nights” held at the ARK. “On Saturday nights, we know a lot of things happen on the street; so what we want to do in conjunction with the ARK of Saint Sabina, is to host an event where they can come indoors, be safe, listen to music, play ball and do it for four hours,” Mr. Bosley said. He also provides mentoring and comes up with solutions “on what they want adults to do.” Annette Nance-Holt, treasurer for Purpose Over Pain and who lost her son, Blair Holt,15, in 2007, said it’s good to bring the youth in and to mentor them. All of the parents in Purpose of Pain have lost a child to gun violence. “We’ve decided to come together instead of sitting at home and mourning, we are beingaround kids and let them know there are people out here who really care about them. It also helps us with the memory of our kids. It helps to keep their spirit alive,” said Bosley. According to Bosley, the group funds itself and said, “We don’t let money stand in our way. Some how, we are going to make it happen.” And, it is happening for the youth like Mylaha Williams, 14, a freshman at Homewood Flossmoor High School. “I’ve been playing basket ball since I was two-months old,” she said as she made yet another basket. “Anybody can come. It’s free,” said Mr. Bosley. While he said they try to provide this service once every three-months, said Father Pfleger wants the number of games increased. Besides offering basketball skills, Bosley also provides mentoring for the youth having them to recite the organization’s motto: “If it is to be, it is up to me.” He then had several youth to read famous sayings from people like Malcolm X who said, “to have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace.” Other youth read quotes from Nelson Mandela who said, “Until I changed myself, I could not change others,” or Marcus Garvey’s saying of “If you have no confidence in yourself, you are twice defeated.” Other students read a quote from Wilhem Bushe, “To become a father is not hard; however, to be a father is.” But to bring it down to the real world of today, Bosley had Ken Berry, 44, whospent eight-years in prison for a crime he never committed. “I didn’t commit a crime,” he said. “I was a victim of a wrongful conviction. I spent eight-years in prison for a crime I did not commit,” he said referring to the years 1991-1999. Standing in the middle of a circle, Berry told the students, “If it is to be, it is up to you if you put your mind to it. I’m a living witness to that. The choices you make now can have a positive or negative effect on the rest of your life. I’m also a witness to that.” He quoted Muhammad Ali saying, “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30-years of his life.” “I had an incompetent trial attorney. There were witnesses who never got a chance to testify and there was evidence that was never presented; however, one it was presented I was exonerated.” Today, he mentors youth who join the Purpose Over Pain group. It’s his way of giving back and being a positive role model tochildren. Bosley said, “There is a lot of peer pressure out on the street for you to do different things. Have the confidence to stand on your own. The decisions that you make today could impact you for the rest of your life.” He has some friends who are no longer alive due to their poor decisions. “Stay in school…,” he told them. To those who may have had a child, Bosley urged them to stay in that child’s life.“Give that child of yours time…. They will remember the time you give them.” Another volunteer is Rod Dillard, a Chicago police officer who works in the Roseland community. “The decisions you make right now affect you forever.” Saying no one is perfect, Dillard said he is good at his job. “I don’t really like locking up black folks but I do and I do it a lot…. I have one of the highest arrest records in the city,” he said blaming the demographics he serves as the reason. Saying the police are not always right, Dillard added, “I know bad stuff happens, but there are ways to do it. The street ain’t the way to do it because you are going to lose every time.” He too talked to those who have children. “Once that child’s life comes in, the things that you want stops. No more ‘I want to hang out.’ You have to do everything for your child. That is what makes a man….” Supporting the program is Camiella Williams, a community activist who lost her cousin, Porshe Foster, 15, on November 26, 2012 to gun violence. “She was a straight A student...on the dean's list. She was shot in the back with an assault weapon at 70th and Campbell. The case is unsolved.” Williams said the program not only provides a safe haven but “it helps them build relationships.” She is planning a prayer vigil on Tuesday in remembrance of her cousin. Community activists Andrew Holmes also applauded the program. “I feel overwhelmed coming in and seeing them running up and down the court instead of seeing them running down the street and seeing them laying out on the street.” Also present was Rev. Darius Randle who is with the Radical Changes Coaliiton. “This is an amazing event,” he said and a chance to “get the kids off the street.” There were volunteers present as well like Debra Butler Pureton who lost her son, Jeffrey X Butler, Jr. on July 9, 2011. She has started a foundation, and Carolyn Wilson, a coordinator for Pureton’s the JXB Foundation. Forfurther information on the Purpose Over Pain program, call Mr. Bosley at:773.317.6144. His website is: www.purposeoverpain.org. ### Tommie Bosley, president of Purpose Over Pain, would like to expand the program but in the interim he and his wife, Pamela who lost their son, Terrell, 18, on April 4, 2006, are giving hope and renewed life to children who want to escape the violent streets of Chicago. That is why his group is offering “Safe Saturday Nights” held at the ARK. “On Saturday nights, we know a lot of things happen on the street; so what we want to do in conjunction with the ARK of Saint Sabina, is to host an event where they can come indoors, be safe, listen to music, play ball and do it for four hours,” Mr. Bosley said. He also provides mentoring and comes up with solutions “on what they want adults to do.” (All photos by Chinta Strausberg) Youth from ages 7 to 26 joined the Purpose Over Pain: Safe Saturday Night program where they played ball, were mentored and ate some really good food and all for FREE1 Father Michael L. Pfleger, Natalie Wright, who is reporting for a London TV station, and community activist Andrew Holmes pose for a photo before the game began late Saturday night at the ARK of Saint Sabina. Bosley said, “There is a lot of peer pressure out on the street for you to do different things. Have the confidence to stand on your own. The decisions that you make today could impact you for the rest of your life.” He has some friends who are no longer alive due to their poor decisions. “Stay in school…,” he told them. Annette Nance-Holt, treasurer for Purpose Over Pain and who lost her son, Blair Holt, 15, in 2007, said it’s good to bring the youth in and to mentor them. But to bring it down to the real world of today, Bosley had Ken Berry, 44, who spent eight-years in prison for a crime he never committed. “I didn’t commit a crime,” he said. “I was a victim of a wrongful conviction. I spent eight-years in prison for a crime I did not commit,” he said referring to the years 1991-1999. Standing in the middle of a circle, Berry told the students, “If it is to be, it is up to you if you put your mind to it. I’m a living witness to that. The choices you make now can have a positive or negative effect on the rest of your life. I’m also a witness to that.” He quoted Muhammad Ali saying, “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30-years of his life.” “I had an incompetent trial attorney. There were witnesses who never got a chance to testify and there was evidence that was never presented; however, one it was presented I was exonerated.” Today, he mentors youth who join the Purpose Over Pain group. It’s his way of giving back and being a positive role model to children. Another volunteer is Rod Dillard, a Chicago police officer who works in the Roseland community. “The decisions you make right now affect you forever.” Saying no one is perfect, Dillard said he is good at his job. “I don’t really like locking black folks but I do and I do it a lot…. I have one of the highest arrest records in the city,” he said due to the demographics he serves. Tommie Bosley, president of the Purpose Over Pain, group, that is holding 'Safe Saturday Night' basketball clinics at the ARK of Saint Sabina. Purpose Over Pain: Safe Saturday Night mantra is: "If it is to be, it is up to me." Like

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