Friday, March 27, 2009

Defender's Chat Daddy Finds New Way to Help

Through his advice column in the Chicago Defender, Art Sims, aka Chat Daddy, has helped thousands of Chicagoans solve their health, self-esteem, and relationship problems for 14 years. I learned recently that Art has also taken on the task of giving young people the skills to deal with problems before they need to write "Dear Chat Daddy."

Art has been working at South Central Community Services, Inc. (SCCS), giving young people in grades K-12 homework help and tutuoring, behavior and etiquette lessons, and healthy living classes, "anything to help them become model people in today's society," he says. "My passion is to see that inner city children are given the opportunity to see something other than the negative environment and behavior that is seen on the day to day in most of their communities."

Art started volunteering in SCCS's future leader series in March of 2008. Last November Art was made director of the community center. When I asked him how his experiences helping people through media translate into his new work, he said:
The letters that people write me as Dear Chat Daddy are very real and compelling of everyday struggles that people face in the streets. Once I started volunteering at the community center, some of the very letters I received actually turned out to be the same or similar to experiences that students face in the community center.
While I'm sure I'm able to make a difference through my column with empathy and words of wisdom, my time at the SCCS is even more rewarding.
Art says he hopes more professionals consider volunteering for SCCS and other social service organizations. Folks interested in volunteering at SCCS can call Wardell Dodd at (773) 483-0900 ext. 233. You can search for volunteer opportunities in your community at

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