Introducing Logan Heroes, a series where we feature a local resident positively affecting the community, whether it be through organizing neighborhood events supporting a cause or activism, volunteer work or creating new initiatives to bring people together. Do you know someone worthy of recognition to be highlighted as a Logan Hero? Let us know! Contact us with your Logan Hero and support our mission of socializing the neighborhood.
Logan Hero No. 1: Jamila Maronde
On any given Sunday during the Logan Square Famers Market, you can find incoming Payton High School senior, Jamilah Maronde, proudly running her organization the Logan Square Youth Fun(d) Run (pun intended). She started it just a couple of months ago at the beginning of the summer with the idea to give something local teens and children could have fun doing. Especially as Logan Square is changing to a more hip and gentrified neighborhood with bars, restaurants and social events geared toward adults, Maronde thought it important to give youth a space to be active, connect to the community and do some good service at the same time.
The group meets every Sunday at the Farmers Market and runs Logan Boulevard together. The next event is Sept. 9. Read on to learn the inside story of her independently-run organization and how to get involved.
How did the Logan Square Youth Fun(d) Run begin?
It started with a school project where I started researching youth empowerment and community building, [which] has been a stable part of my upbringing in Logan Square and especially on my block. I wanted to create a group where kids and teens get to know each other, a chance for the kids to get out and to add an element of social good.
Is this still part of your school project?
The project could have just been a one-time thing [but] I just had a lot of fun with it and so did everyone else. I am planning on continuing it throughout the fall, until the weather gets too bad, and then maybe pick it back up in the spring.
How does the donation system work for the group?
We ask for a suggested donation of $5 to $15. With that money, we donate it to a different charity every week. So far, we have raised money for GirlForward, National Immigration Center and for this week we are raising money for Cara, which is a group that works to alleviate poverty by helping Chicago’s homeless people find jobs. I try to do more local organizations, but sometimes if there is a cause that catches my attention, we will do that.
Why did you choose running to get people together and why meet at the Famers Market?
I had done previous mentoring for Girls on the Run, I also run on the Boulevard and figured it was a great meeting point. Running is a universal activity—I could have done riding bikes or play soccer, but I thought running would be best for everyone.
How many members are there currently?
We had some weeks where there are not too many people. Our biggest issue has been getting more people involved, especially getting kids to come. We have five kids and then always a larger number of teens.
Is there any specific distance you try to run on a perfect day?
[The entire Boulevard] is about two miles; we may go a little further sometimes. What usually ends up happening is that the younger kids will start off sprinting, then eventually slow down and we end up walking some. In general, we stick together.
Where can people go to find out more information?
We have a Facebook page which I post the events on. I ask that people RSVP to the events or sign up on a Google form so we have an idea of how many people are coming. We also have an Instagram page and an email: [email protected].
What does the Logan Square Youth Fun(d) Run mean to you?
I love it because it has really brought together the community and the youth, which was my original goal. I’ll run into people that ask about it and be excited about it. For the teens, it is fun for them, too. I also love the fact that it gets younger people outside and active in the community. On top of all that, I like that it has its element of social good by raising money for different organizations.
Featured photo: Jamilah Maronde, center, with two friends who participate in her Logan Square Youth Fun(d) Run event every Sunday.