Why I moved from Chicago and why I’m moving back

Posted: December 12, 2012 by Keith Townsend in Uncategorized

If you are a middle class black family, it’s a tough debate on if to leave the city for the suburbs.  Our communities need strong middle class families to help improve the community.  The men are needed to mentor boys without dads at home and give vision and overall leadership.  While at the same time you now have the means to provide better opportunity for your own family.  If you have an heart for others it’s a difficult decision.  I had to make the decision on if to leave or stay.

Keith_Kevin_MarcusI knew it was time to move from the City of Chicago when my son came home with all A’s and B’s.  My son will be one of the first to tell you that he’s not a scholar.  He has learned to work really hard at school and get out of it what he needs.  I’ve always known this about him.  We’d sit at the kitchen table for hours teaching him how to round numbers and develop critical thinking skill.  That’s why after his first semester at Hales Franciscan, a private school on the south side, I knew something was wrong.  He hadn’t really worked or studied particularly hard that semester but came home with his best grades ever.

I went in to have a conversation with the principle and staff and it became clear that I was going to have to find different options for him.  The school’s mission wasn’t focused around academic metrics.  They were located in a part of the city that really suffered from a lack of male leadership.  Their focus was to help develop boys that didn’t have strong male figures into men that could lead the community.  They were trying to provide my son with something he was already getting at home.  The same theme had already played itself out with my oldest.  My daughter went to Hyde Park and found that the public school education left her ill prepared for college life.  I had another son in middle school which meant the problem wasn’t going away anytime soon.  So, we moved in December of 2005.

We went 50 miles outside of Chicago to the suburb of Plainfield and school district 202.  It has paid off.  Both of my sons are well on their way to obtaining degrees from NIU. One of the things that I’ve drilled into them is that they have an obligation to pay forward their blessings.  There are plenty of middle class black families in the suburbs but I think my skill and presence will be much better felt in the actual city.  I’ve looked at the experience as an investment.  My family is overall stronger and God has opened an opportunity for us to return to the home that we moved out of in 2005.  I’m anxious to get back in there and build up the community as well as get back involved with our original church.

I’m pretty excited about the next few months and hope to have a positive impact on the city I love.

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