Do you ever feel like you’re unintentionally going in circles in life? Do feel like sometimes where you end up is where you started? When it comes to the Gifford Park area, that seems to be me. I was born in a small house off of 35th and California, right across the street from my grandparents and within a block’s radius of many aunts,uncles and cousins. I never really gave much thought as to why everyone lived so close together in this specific neighborhood. Even though my own nuclear family moved away (one of the many times), we’d still visit my grandparents and watch how everyone stood put and avoided the flight to the suburbs, even as the neighborhood seemed to get worse. Fast forward 19 years later. I find myself moving to a 2 bedroom apartment off of 33rd st. Coincidentally I was back where I started in Gifford Park. Thankfully the Good Lord had seen fit to have me mature both in my understanding of the Christian life as well as the value of community since my infant years when I last resided here. Not only am I fortunate to have many relatives of mine within a walking distance, but that for once I could see why they stayed put and invested in Gifford Park. Although I had always had trouble reconciling my religious beliefs with the majority of the family, I finally felt that we could meet on the same level when it came to investing in your neighborhood and building up your community. With Simple Free, there is a unity of belief not only in matters of faith but also through action in matters of social justice and compassion. As of now, however, a lot of this is mostly discourse and not action, and in the near future I hope me and the other guys in Simple Free will be able to partner with the Gifford Park Neighborhood Associaion and serve in tangible ways to better our streets and help those how live in our area. All in all, I feel fortunate not only to have great friends but a steadfast family to join me in bettering our neighborhood and working restoration not only physically but also mentally and spiritually as well.
-Dinger aka Matt Wilwerding