Tenesha Barner


What is your story?

I am a thirty-six year old mother of two children – one son, 19,  and one daughter, 16.  I also have one older sister who lives in St. Louis. I’ve lived in Woodlawn all my life. I attended Dulles Elementary School and James McCosh Elementary School, and I graduated 12th grade from Englewood Technical Prep Academy. I love basketball and tennis. I love going to Church, and I like to be around people – positive people.

 Where do think the problems in Englewood and Woodlawn stem?

I think they come from a lack of positive role models. It’s not just parenting, because as a parent, you can raise your child the best way you possibly can, but they still have outside influences. To me, it’s more coming from the streets. There are more problems on the streets than there are in the home. There is a lack of role models outside of the home, and sometimes in the home as well.

How do you deal with violence in Chicago?

I am a member of MAP. I also help Officer Maddox at Parkway Gardens with teens and take them on trips to get them away from the community. We want them to experience something different outside of the normal daily routine they have. We take them to sporting events, basketball tournaments – anything to keep them involved and off the streets. We want them to experience something positive. I’m also a part of the Safe Passage program.

How did you become a member of MAP?

First, I’m a volunteer at the Dulles School of Excellence. The community liaison for AUSL deals with the parents, and she came to me and told me that she had a young lady who had a foundation and wanted to talk to local moms. So I went to the first meeting with Dede.  From then, I’ve basically attended every meeting. I really became a part of MAP through AUSL.

What does being a member of the MAP group mean to you?

It means, to me, that I am more engaged in my community. Before MAP, I only worked with Parkway. But since joining MAP, I think I’ve gone outside of my community. I have been involved with the Alderman a little more, done different things in the community, and I wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for MAP. It opened me up to experiencing other things in the community. It also helps me with wanting to help my community more. One of the reasons I’m still in the community is because I know if I leave, I’m not coming back. But I want to stay and to help.

What is your goal for MAP?

My goal for MAP is to do whatever needs to be done to help bring peace to Woodlawn and Englewood. I want to help moms in our community find whatever resources they need.

What does being a mother mean to you?

It means not being so selfish. It means giving of myself to my children – not just my children, but other children in the community as well who need it. There are children in our community who lack that motherly love and motherly bond. Being a mother means to help spread love to children, as well as adults, who may need it.

 What do the MAP mothers provide for each other?

We provide love, laughter, and compassion.

Is there anything else that you want to say?

Of course not.

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