CHICAGO (CBS) — Sailing is new experience for some Chicago teenagers.
As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported Tuesday, a West Side pastor and community leader is hoping the maritime life shows the kids a world of possibilities.READ MORE: City Was Warned About Thousands of Corroding Light Poles But Failed to Fix Many, CBS 2 Investigation Finds
The kids whom the Rev. Walter Jones brings up to Belmont Harbor can see Chicago’s skyline from their West Side neighborhood. But for many, the distance is vast.
“Something can look so close, can be so far away,” said the Rev. Jones.
They’re so much closer on Lake Michigan.
“I never knew how beautiful the city was until now – I mean not until I got on the boat,” said Janicka Hall.
“I was floating. It was just like the breeze and the water,” said Kamiya Jackson. “It was really great.”
Every Tuesday afternoon, 15 young people from the West Side board sailboats. The sights are alluring, and so is the potential they see.
“The world is your oyster,” said Nick Berberian, the Chicago Yacht Club’s commodore. “You’re here in Chicago – this is a magnificent city. One of our magnificent resources is Lake Michigan, and it is opportunity that you can participate in.”
It is an opportunity in the maritime industry – learning sailing basics and exploring various jobs on boats.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Rain Arrives Sunday
Kamiya is 15, and said she would like to be a sailing instructor. She said her maritime education on Lake Michigan has opened up a whole new world.
As for the Rev. Jones, he wears many hats.
In his effort to bring peace to the West Side, he leads marches and provides meals and health care. And he is now connecting with the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation – opening the eyes of these teenagers on one of the Great Lakes.
“Even though the violence is plaguing our community, we know that if we keep on giving these young folks options and opportunities – but also having them to be responsible for their character and for what they’re doing out here – then we can bring about some change in our community,” Jones said.
The water is also a respite from daily life.
Hinisha Malone is also 15.
“It’s real therapeutic and calming to be out there and just like, be like stress-free,” she Hinisha said. “As I’m out there, I try not to think about so much, or think about like what goes on outside of the moment right now.”
The view, and the feeling, are different here out on the lake- and they’re welcome.
“We’re trying to expose them to some peace, some quiet, some tranquility – and then allowing them to understand they can be anything that they want to be,” Rev. Jones said.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
So what’s next for these young sailors? Rev. Jones says perhaps horseback riding or skydiving.