Little Black Pearl Founder Monica Haslip Uplifts Chicago Teens

Monica Haslip, founder of Little Black Pearl, has work Chicago community residents for 18 years.

Little Black Pearl, she said, is primarily focused on working with youth and teaching the connection between art, business and education, according to the “Murder to Excellence: Life & Hip Hop in Chicago” documentary.

The school is called an option labs schools, she added.

“An options lab school is really a school for people who are off-track for graduation that may have had a challenging experience at their previous schools,” she said.

Comprised primarily of teens ages 16 to 19, most of the participants, she said, have had some academic challenges or some social challenges at their previous schools, but had an interest in the arts.

“That was really the key for us to find kids who need a small or more intimate face with smaller classrooms,” she said. More individualized attention that had love and passion for art.”

Haslip said she chose to live in her students’ neighborhood, so she could serve asa better role model.

“I really wanted to live in the neighborhood,” she said. “I really wanted to live in the neighborhood, so they can see me getting up, going to work everyday and kind of have that role model.”

Haslip started Little Black Pearl, so it may “become that staple in the community for kids where they knew it was always one place for them to go in the neighborhood.”

“The arts is giving them a greater appreciation for academics achievement,” she said.

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