Thursday, November 25, 2010

What Are You Most Thankful for This Holiday Season?

I want to thank Mr. Fred Mitchell, "Prisoner of the 24th Ward" and Becca Martin for extending warm Thanksgiving wishes to the Every Block Chicago-24th Ward Community. Their well wishes, combined with an e-mail I got this morning linking positive mental health with being grateful, has truly caused me to reflect. I ask, "What are you most thankful for this Holiday Season? (Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and the New Year)

As for me, I am most grateful for my loving parents, Theodis and Essie Leonard, who have instilled in me a love of Christ and His Church; as well as an appreciation for education and volunteerism. I thank God for my brothers, sister, my brother in law, nieces, nephews, and cousins. I am grateful for my grandparents, aunts and uncles who have helped shape my past as well as my destiny. I am also thankful for the community that helped to raise me and encourage me to be the best that I could be. This includes my friends, elders and classmates who are brutally honest, members of Carey Tercentenary AME Church, my neighbors who kept me in check (and still do), my teachers and leaders of community based organizations. I thank God for sending me wonderful people who believe in me, and have contributed time, money, effort and ideas to my campaign. I also thank God for food, clothing, warm shelter, a car and a consulting practice where I can actually get paid to do the work about which I am most passionate. I could go on and on, but I think you get where I'm going with this.

I can honestly say that I feel even better after having written this note. I'd be very interested in hearing what you have to say, regardless of your faith, or whether or not you believe in God. I encourage you to not worry about making comments similar to others. I believe if we begin to focus on being thankful for what is working in our lives, we begin to unlock the potential to channel positive energy into everything that we say, do and touch. With your permission, I will post your responses on this campaign blog, and post a holiday shout out from you on the message marquee of my campaign website (

May God bless you and yours this Holiday Season.

Responses From Our Supporters:


I am thankful for God's watchful eye on me, like it is on the sparrow. I know that He created me for a purposeful life to do the work that He established in me before I entered into my mother's womb. I know the desires he has for my life, that is to prosper and do good. What is life if one does not have a cause worth dying for...

--Chaplain Marsha Montgomery-Taylor

and I am thankful for citizens like you who give their lives in service to others.


--Melanie Wojtulewicz

Give thanks to that which is priceless. That which no man, woman or entity can discard. That which brings great admirability. That which enhances the inner beauty in you and others. Happy Thanksgiving

--Jenice Sanders

Dear Valerie,

While I don’t know you from meeting the physical you, I feel I know your spirit and it’s one I’ve come to truly appreciate and admire ;-) You, my dear, are here to enlighten those who are really to step into their true nature and power in life. And that will not always be a smooth road.

You must keep your inner light and wisdom glowing and growing throughout this process.
You must awaken people to the understanding they can have a better, more joyful, more opportunity-filled life.

You must help your neighbors imagine what the possibilities are with schools that truly educate their children, with parks that offer boundless opportunities, with safe, welcoming streets.

Now take a deep breath Valerie—and another and know I’ll keep you in my prayers while to accomplish that which you are to do….


I am thankful to be able to help people and get joy.

--Margaret Davis

Friday, November 12, 2010

Elois McCoy Village Apartments Gets New Technology Center

I am pleased to announce that My Way Village, in partnership with DSSA and Habilitative Systems, Inc., launched the first of 23 technology centers for senior buildings across the State of Illinois earlier today. The project was funded by President Obama's Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP), and will provide technology centers, training and laptop computers for building residents who complete the training, as well as a year of free high speed internet service. The project was championed by Congressman Danny K. Davis, Governor Quinn, Commissioner Robert Steele and Don Samuelson, a local attorney and expert on broadband technology. Sankofa Safe Child Initiative, (also in North Lawndale) and Beth-Anne Place (in Austin) will also be launching technology centers in the near future.

I am deeply honored to have provided technical assistance in the development of the $7 million proposal as a consultant to the Illinois ResourceNet, a Funding Initiative based at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Illinois ResourceNet provides technical assistance to nonprofit organizations and municipalities seeking federal funds. We provide proposal reviews within the federal grant guidelines; assist in brokering partnerships among grant seekers; deliver online courses; provide workshops and conferences on federal funding. For further information on the initiative, visit

Friday, November 5, 2010

Build Communities That Work

I received the following e-mail from I Make America. Please consider joining. When America works, we can build communities that work.

Dear Valerie,

Our communities are hurting. Before the recession, manufacturing contributed over $243.3 billion to the US economy and employed more than 12.5 million employees. That number has dropped significantly - 550,000 jobs have been lost -- that's 2 out of every 25 manufacturing jobs. As the economy continues to struggle, we need to take proven steps to put people back to work. Right here in Illinois, we need to invest in infrastructure to continue being the transportation hub of the country and increase manufacturing jobs in our state.

Please visit today and register your support for Congress to pass a federal infrastructure bill, which would create manufacturing jobs throughout the country.For every $100 invested in our infrastructure, $350 is returned to the economy. For every $1 billion spent on infrastructure, 30,000 jobs are created. We don't have to guess whether these investments will work, or hope they will. We know they do. Manufacturing is needed to supply the steel to build transit systems and bridges, build the equipment and trucks needed to get the job done and protect the workers who make it all possible. Together, we can grow our nation's economy, create jobs and build a safer America!