Stories by Joanna Hernandez

Little Village Organization on a Mission to Conserve Monarch Butterflies

(WTTW News)

The nonprofit El Valor has raised thousands of monarchs, and each year the community comes together for a butterfly release. 

From a Busy Suburban Kitchen, Sisters Make Lunches for Homeless

Every Sunday, Ann Marie Frank, along with family members and volunteers, packs up lunches for homeless individuals. (WTTW News)

Ann Marie Frank is using social media to help feed homeless individuals in her community and beyond. We visit Des Plaines to see how she’s opened her kitchen to make thousands of lunches — with the help of family members and volunteers.

Chicago Westside Sports Aims to Build Community, Life Skills

Participants in Chicago Westside Sports play baseball at Columbus Park. (WTTW News)

A group of police officers and community leaders are using their time off to give back to underserved communities by getting young kids to play sports. We head to Columbus Park on the West Side to learn more.  

Love of Pit Bulls Inspires Colorful Mission to Break Stigma

A dog models apparel from Pittie Clothing Company, founded by Erin Crowley of Humboldt Park. (WTTW News)

A Humboldt Park woman is on a mission to break the stigma surrounding pit bulls — one colorful outfit at a time. How Erin Crowley’s line of dog apparel aims to help change people’s preconceived notions about the breed. 

High School Students Envision Clean Energy Future for Garfield Park

Al Raby High School teacher Jasmine Jones, second from left, and her students talk about their solar panel project. (WTTW News)
A group of students on the West Side are determined to make a big change by confronting environmental issues and working to bring solar energy to their community. We learn more about their vision for Garfield Park.

Chicago Park District Offers New Summer Camp Program for Teens

Teens can learn to build a fire, pitch a tent and work as a team as part of a new Chicago Park District program. (WTTW News)

From starting a fire to pitching a tent, some Chicago teens are learning what it takes to camp in the great outdoors. We visit the Lincoln Park neighborhood to learn more about the program.

How a Shared Kitchen is Helping a Community of Street Vendors Build Its Future

Juan Jose Gama Garcia starts his workday in the Gage Park neighborhood, July 20, 2021. (WTTW News)

Meet a group of Chicago food vendors who are now the owners of a shared kitchen after renting it for years. With it, they hope they can help their community achieve the American dream.

A Look at Efforts to Battle Mental Health Stigmas in Latino Communities

Nestor Flores of the Pilsen Wellness Center. (WTTW News)

Black and brown communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 — in both their physical and mental health. We take a look at the stigmas surrounding mental health in the Latino community, and what some people are doing to break those generational barriers.