Chicago At-Risk Youth Get Hands Dirty, Grow Flowers, And Change Lives

Thursday, August 5 2021 by Billie Branham

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Young people holding flowers
Chicago Eco House

Chicago - Quilen Blackwell started Chicago Eco House as a way to help at-risk young men. Most struggle to stay on the straight and narrow but are learning life lessons working in the dirt at self-sustaining flower farms throughout the city.

Young man harvesting flowers from farm
[Photo Credit: Chicago Eco House] 

Quilen says, “Guys with flower shears and making bouquets, like it really softens them, right? It shows they do have more of a compassionate side and it just changes the perception of a lot of these young men.” He felt God’s calling and started Chicago Eco House as a way to transform inner-city neighborhoods. 

Quilen Blackwell and his daughter with flowers
Quilen Blackwell and daughter [Photo Credit: Chicago Eco House] 

The flowers are sold to help fund Chicago Eco House. Southside Blooms also teaches the young men valuable life skills, like how to handle money and good customer service.

Southside Blooms flower shop
[Photo Credit: Chicago Eco House] 

Quilen is excited about what he's accomplished and hopes for more success in the future. “The communities where our farms are at, people just absolutely love them. It helps to beautify the neighborhood, it’s solving a pretty huge problem with a lot of the violence and the crime.”

Young man feeding chickens
[Photo Credit: Chicago Eco House] 

Hear more about Quilen Blackwell and Chicago Eco House:

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