News & Gratitude 

Utopia News

Fall 2020 Quarter:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cream and Brown Autumn Invitation Facebo
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This holiday season, we did something phenomenal - we fed the hungry! There has never been a time in our existence that the hungry has needed support more and right here at home.  While we have always been moved to give, this year we formalized that giving through Sarayah's Song. 

Sarayah's Song is the story of an 11-year-old girl with a passion for helping others and wanted to begin a girl's group that would also have a benevolent objective.

 

I have turned this ask into “Sarayah’s Song”.  We have teamed up with Facing Forward to help us meet this goal of giving and meeting our communities basic needs. The Utopia Connect Foundation believes that we cannot advance women and families if we cannot meet their critical and basic needs. Facing Forward is doing great work and aligns with our vision, they believe that the path to a better future hinges on those critical needs being met and is a first step leading to empowerment. We are all about finding ways to empower those we work with and  we embrace this partnership in feeding the hungry and homeless. The funds raised by Sarayah's Song will help to advance women and women with children through our partnership with Facing Forward.  Learn more about Facing Forward's work here: https://www.ffchicago.org

We make our communities better through our individual care for our humanity and we hope to inspire you through Sarayah's Song to practice care and compassion for your neighbors and those who are most at-risk or in need.

Here’s our ask for you:

  • Give towards Sarayah’s Song that my dreamer can begin to lead in ways that our children should. You can inbox/email us that you would like to be the next giver or match someone's giving. You can  or you can use the attached link to give. Thank You!

  • Consider those without and give to Sarayah's Song as we feed the hungry. I have always considered that if those with something to give connected with those without - we’d collectively & effectively shift world hunger. Let’s begin today! Step out of your comfort zone with us and let's find someone to help. Surprisingly, they often won’t ask - we should! 

  • Ha! I’ve now acquired a girl’s group! I am going to need you to help me in giving continued inspiration and help us find ways to connect, learn and grow together. There is so much GIRL MAGIC floating around town that I thought I’d spread the love to other women who can join our programmed Zoom meetings to help us inspire. You can email us below with your contact, content, and interest as we’d love our girls to hear what other women are doing, overcoming, and how they too can lead.

  • Give to Sarayah's Song. No donation is too small. Your donation will help us fund Zoom sessions that bring these young girls together and towards the launch of their bracelet project that feeds right back into programming.

 

Thank you for caring and giving.

Muriel ~

Executive Director, UCF

PS: I couldn’t help but throw in how proud I am that Girl Magic is changing our world today.

Spring 2017 Quarter:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Winter 2017 Quarter:   
 
Use Your Tools for GOOD
  • So this article’s been lingering, incomplete since summer. I came home and found a young man sitting in the alley on our garbage bin. I  initially drove past him, reluctant to confront him, then reversed and decided to either boldly or stupidly (take your pick) approach a black man smoking and making love to a bottle of Hennessey. I asked him if he lived in the area and he tried to tell me that he lived in my house. I said no you don’t, he continued to say yes he lived in the home of the garbage bin he was sitting on. I said no, because I live there. He was shocked. I guess he had never seen me before (I must take the garbage out more often). About to drive away, he asked if he should move and I said, “Well, I want you to stay safe.” He stared at me and I said, “I mean it, our black men are being shot out here, be safe.” He proceeded to raise the bottle and tell me, “not because you see me with this bottle means I am a troublemaker.” Said his name was Rico too, the same way he said he lived in my house, hmmm. Safely indoors I shared the story and laughingly said I had never met a black Rico before. But, let’s rewind back to the last year.

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  • In an effort to educate myself on what the lay of the land in our country looks like, I have been spending more time than I wish to on Facebook and watching the news. But, through this process, I have to come to realize that social media is playing an integral role in exposing the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Every act is immediately at our fingertips. It is in our home, at our dinner table, and in our beds as the last material we take in before we sleep. So I wonder, how does this play out in all of our worlds? Are we feeling angry, empowered, happy, energized, optimistic, or dejected? Are we filled with information but lack direction on what to do with what we know?

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  • Truly, today calls for measures that will make our nation better, our people closer, and our will stronger. Here are some measures that we can immediately begin to put to good use.

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  1. Respect for self and others lends itself to shaping tolerance and healthier communities: We will never all agree with each other. Different opinions and viewpoints abound and it is the framework of who we are. The framework of our nation and many of our cities is embedded in diversity and is the very reason why we must grow to become more honoring of people around us and their differences. If nothing more, let it stretch us to become better citizens.

  2. Get to know your neighbors and work through issues responsibly:  It could have been easier for me to call the police for “Rico” but approaching him, speaking to him with respect, and showing that I cared about his well-being might have gone a longer way. Rico might be taking my garbage out the next time we meet-just kidding, but my point is, “we must take steps to begin to develop relationships and establish respect and expectations for the people who live with us and around us. Doing a good deed for your neighbor could also become an element of admiration that could help to ease tensions and create healthy spaces to coexist.

  3. Be or become a strong parent or mentor: Simply said but not as simple as I say right? Working in schools and within our communities, I sense that we often see the role of the police and teachers as babysitters for the lack of parenting that exists. But upping the ante on parenting practices can go a long way. Make every effort to know where your kids are. Spend quality time with them. Ask your kids some socially relevant questions and have deep conversations about those topics with them-end goal of teaching values and tolerance. Give your children curfews, it doesn’t make you a bad parent to set boundaries. Make time to volunteer with your child and help them to begin to serve their community. And please give them household chores, it is good for their soul. I am not a parent but I have seen the good and the bad to good and bad parenting.

  4. Be a good boss or colleague. People are often pretty stressed from work responsibilities. They work a surplus of their 8-hour day and often take work home in an effort to stay abreast and meet performance standards. Yet, we expect them to know what’s happening in their children’s lives, attend student conferences and support school events. What if employers invested in their workers to well-being and gave parents time off to be present and check in at their child’s school. What if? What if every employer can aspire to be a good boss and a superb company to work for by caring about the people who ultimately make those companies great?

  5. Turn on the positive: Paying attention to the discussions around me, I am noticing how often the topic revolves around race discord. While escalated over the last political year, we entreat you to find the positive, be the bigger person and change the outcome of the dialogue to be one community building and tolerance   .Our children are listening and are forming their own emotions about the world around them. Be realistic, but teach them that we all can overcome. We too must frame conversations with others that we walk away knowing we have inspired not kindled the fire; spread love and not hate; and have educated and not just blamed.

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  • Sincerely,

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  • Muriel Baptiste, Executive Director &

  • The Utopia Connect Foundation Crew

           

Making Chicago Vibrant and Safe

 
Here are some images of our Spring for Life event. On May 27th we teamed up with Blocks Together and brought the West Humbolt Park community out to plant seed balls and celebrate LIFE. We ended the day with a beautiful butterfly release to symbolize and celebrate life 

Chicago Community Doings

Teacher/s of the Month

Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx June 2018

 

 

 

Tell us who should sit in this spot. There are real and amazing people making a difference in their corner of the world each day and one of them might be someone you know. Like a grandmother on community watch, a teacher so heavily invested in her children, or a young man or woman doing something so noteworthy. We'd like to honor them.

Read more
Community Citizen/s of the Month

Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx June 2020

 

 

 

Tell us who should sit in this spot. There are real and amazing people making a difference in their corner of the world each day and one of them might be someone you know. Like a grandmother on community watch, a teacher so heavily invested in her children, or a young man or woman doing something so noteworthy. We'd like to honor them.

Read more
Student/s of the Month

Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx June 2020

 

 

 

Tell us who should sit in this spot. There are real and amazing people making a difference in their corner of the world each day and one of them might be someone you know. Like a grandmother on community watch, a teacher so heavily invested in her children, or a young man or woman doing something so noteworthy. We'd like to honor them.

Read more
Artist/s of the Month

Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx June 2020

 

 

 

Tell us who should sit in this spot. There are real and amazing people making a difference in their corner of the world each day and one of them might be someone you know. Like a grandmother on community watch, a teacher so heavily invested in her children, or a young man or woman doing something so noteworthy. We'd like to honor them.

Read more
Organization/s of the Month

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx June 2020

 

 

 

Tell us which organization should sit in this spot. There are real and amazing organizations making a difference in their corner of the world each day and one of them might be someone you know. Like a grandmother on community watch, a teacher so heavily invested in her children, or a young man or woman doing something so noteworthy. We'd like to honor them.

Read more