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North of Howard 808s Member Reflects on Integrity

Posted on September 21, 2011

What does your integrity mean to you?

By: Dominique Johns

Every individual should consider this question. I feel that any little situation can influence someone to betray their own beliefs.

What impacts someone’s integrity?

The community that one lives in can influence someone to easily contradict their morals, which leads me to consider how easily one can lose their integrity living in my community of north of Howard Street, in Rogers Park. Some residents challenge those of us who try to live life morally. To me, integrity means knowing the difference between right and wrong and then accepting the fact that one must do the right thing. With Howard being an area where we are often exposed to folks who lack integrity, one can easily lose faith and get caught up in a lifestyle where they forget their morals.

Being surrounded by sex advocates, school dropouts, drug dealers and addicts can bring down one’s high spirits, which could eventually lead someone into forgetting her self worth and identity. So, how can someone who lives in an area such as North of Howard prevent losing their integrity? Several of us who recently founded the 808’s: Youth Empowerment thru Dance frequently asks ourselves these questions. Living North of Howard, we often find our morals tested (as in put on the front line). What do we do? Every Thursday morning since we started the 808s program, we meet with an advisor and mentor who lives in the community as well. We discuss the importance of maintaining our integrity, and for each of us, maintaining it is our highest goal. We have learned that we must continually evaluate ourselves and put at notice what our integrity means to us, and what we need to do to maintain it.

What I’ve learned thus far is that taking a leap of faith, having set goals, and a plan to follow, will keep us on the right path, allowing our dreams to become reality and secure our integrity. Although we have barriers in life that might distract us from achieving our main goals, whether its having children, being in trouble with the law, being financially unstable and so forth, by having faith in ourselves and faith in the Lord, those barriers will soon become factors that will only make us strive harder for success.

“ A dream without a plan is only a wish”

Willye B. White
(written in the reception area of the Willye B. White Field House, 1610 W. Howard Street.)

About the Author (Dominique Johns, age 20):
      - I’m a young adult who has recently moved to North Rogers Park in March of this year

      -  I’m the fourth child belonging to a mother of 8

      -  I got my first job working at Jimmy John’s at the age of 14

Dominique is taking a semester off from Robert Morris college and she just started full time work as a Direct Service Provider at Misericordia. She is one of the founding members of the new dance troupe, lead by young adults from the neighborhood, called 808s: Youth Empowerment thru Dance.

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