By ALEXIS MILLER
Spotlighting businesses that are making a difference in the community, Become organization, a non-profit based here in Hyde Park, is “Helping communities amplify their resources for a socially just world,” according to its founder, Dr. Dominica McBride.
McBride, a Hyde Park resident, said Become sets out to create empowerment throughout the Chicago area by helping disadvantaged communities tap into their resources and skill sets to improve their neighborhood. Established in winter of 2013, Become has consulted with a number of community groups, including one of their most recent clients, Chicago Wisdom Project. Dr. McBride is helping the Chicago Wisdom Project with a food forest at Hales Franciscan High School, 4930 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
“The goal is to shift the students’ narrative, which may have consisted of trauma or adversity, and reframe it to make them more empowered and confident,” said McBride.
Become utilizes training techniques, education, coalition building, and what it calls “Dynamic Evaluation” in order to identify and tap into the communities’ needs. The non-for-profit goes into neighborhoods and speaks with hundreds of the residents, conducting interviews and focus groups to assess the issues of that community.
“All this money is being thrown at the problem, but we are still seeing the problems. Looking at what works and how we can implement what actually works is how we solve these social issues.” said Dr. McBride. She said Become starts with the community’s strengths, assets and collective wisdom to find out solutions that will be the most sustainable for that neighborhood and its residents.
McBride is no stranger to community involvement and social justice. Raised in a rural town in Michigan, McBride said she faced significant racism at a very young age, while growing up in a majority white community. She added that those hurtful experiences and the support from her loving family are what shaped her compassion and formed her passion for social justice. The seed of her dream to establish Become was planted while McBride was earning her P.H.D. at Arizona State University. McBride spent a summer interning and volunteering at a community center on the West Side of Chicago. She engaged with kids and senior citizens and learned a great deal about the needs and societal issues facing many Chicago areas. After graduating, she picked Hyde Park as a place to start her company and live because “I grew up in a community where I rarely saw people who looked like me, and I loved that Hyde Park is so diverse and I feel happy to be a part of It.,” said McBride.
To learn more about Become and how you can get involved in one of their community partnerships, visit be-come.org.