Addie is the co-founder and Executive Director of a voluntary organization titled “Reclaim A Youth” (RAY). She has been at the helm of RAY since its inception in 1993. Addie receives neither a salary nor a stipend. Her work is simply passion in action. Since 1993, she has worked tirelessly in providing community services to at-risk youth and conducting grief and loss group counseling. But that is not all, through her commitment to save a child from violence, teenage pregnancy and poor school performance particularly in the Village of Glenwood and the Glenwood school district, she has partnered with Glenwood School #167 to provide an early youth intervention program that meets regularly at the school district that emphasis conflict management, mentoring and leadership training at no cost to the district. Her love for children and passion to make a difference in a child’s life can be easily detected through her tenacity to bring caring professionals together to collaborate and lead efforts such as Ray’s James Mix & Sean Cater Memorial Scholarship Fund which has raised over $165,000 for young scholars, the College Orientation Program, which prepares young adults for the realities of living on college campuses, and the Grief & Loss Support Group held at Calvary Baptist Church of Glenwood which provides support and counseling to those experiencing difficulty and grief.
Reclaim A Youth of Illinois addresses the following problems that plague its community and surrounding communities; school violence, social forces that prevent males from achieving in school particularly the lack of positive role models to emulate, the absence of or insufficiency in adequate resources for grieving children and adults, and economic inequities that are responsible for many children not having financial support to attend 4 year colleges.
Every year 10-12 college age students receive money for college through Addie’s efforts to educate youths. Through RAY’s college orientation program and scholarships over 50 students have graduated from colleges such as UIC, DePaul, Northwestern, Morehouse & other HBCU’s.
The principal and social worker at Glenwood Junior High School report that the RAY youth intervention program has resulted in a decrease in the number of fights among students and that there is a noticeable change in students coming prepared to class after their participation in the youth program.
Utilizing a self-esteem assessment tool that measures the impact RAY facilitators are making on the students enrolled in the after school program, students feel good most of the time with feeling bad not lasting as long, smile more and have a better belief system, have more energy and are able to accomplish more goals, are friendlier, able to make long-term friendships, can look people in the eye, are becoming more independent and are demonstrating behavioral and academic success in school.
Through her grief at the murder of her only son on his college campus, Mix determined to shed a RAY of hope in lives of many children residing in her immediate community. She would accomplish her hope through the creation of youth recreation, mentoring, college scholarships and college orientation programs.