Claretian Associates Honors Mothers With Free ‘Paint and Chat’ Event in South Chicago

South Chicago residents enjoy an evening of painting and conversation at a Light in the Night event hosted by Claretian Associates on Thursday, May 9, 2024.

It was all about the mamas as Claretian Associates hosted a “Mothers Appreciation Paint and Chat” on Thursday, May 9, 2024 at the South Chicago SALUD Center. The event was a part of Communities Partnering 4 Peaces (CP4P) Light in the Night initiative, a program aimed at reclaiming public spaces to empower communities.

More than 70 people packed out the center’s gymnasium as attendees gathered to enjoy an evening of dinner, painting, singing, dancing, and conversation. While the free event was open to the public, the focus was placed on honoring mothers, with gift giveaways and words of admiration for the women in the room.

Raven Gales, a local resident, attended the event with her one-year-old daughter and said she relished the opportunity to connect with her community and have fun. So much so, Gales let her hair down and stepped to the mic to perform an impromptu rendition of Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé’s hit remix “Until The End Of Time.”

“I like being able to come together with other moms, have conversation, and have a good time,” Gales said. “[…] There’s just so much going on in the community and I think we all need a chance to get out and enjoy ourselves without any chaos going on. There’s a lot of gun violence going around. I feel like all of us sticking together is the best thing.”

For all that mothers do, seen and unseen, the evening was a feel-good moment to allow these women to relax, be catered to, and appreciated.

Guests at the South Chicago SALUD Center are served dinner at the “Mothers Appreciation Paint and Chat” event.

Claretian Associates Case Manager Suncheka Henderson, who also served as emcee for the evening, said events like the Paint and Chat bring healing and positivity to the South Chicago neighborhood.

“We have these Light in the Nights in the community to build a sense of love and a sense of forgiveness,” Henderson said. “We’re letting them know that we do care about them, that we do see a need. What better way to do that than providing food and resources? It’s always a good time.”

Throughout the month of May, Claretian Associates is following up with several other Light in the Night events, which will feature food, music, resources, and fun for all ages. They will take place on May 10, 17, and 24 in South Shore, South Chicago, and South Deering, respectively.

Claretian Associates is one of 13 Chicago organizations representing CP4P, a coalition of nonprofit organizations focused on gun violence prevention across 28 neighborhoods.

To learn more about upcoming Light in the Night events, check the calendar here.