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Be Strong-Use Words-Not Violence: Patrick Lives On Fights Gun Violence

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Because the pandemic has drastically changed my travel life, I have been taking small detours into other topics on this site. I’ve gone from traveling two or three weeks per month in order to bring you the information you need about destinations and resorts to only traveling occasionally. I think I visited four destinations in all of 2020.

The pandemic, hard on everyone, was particularly hard on individuals who rarely enjoyed free time. What does someone do with 24 free hours a day? Having suffered through several weeks with Covid-19 early in the pandemic, unable to do much of anything, I came out on the other side knowing I should do something important with my new found free time.

patrick lives on

I knew that travel as I knew it – hitting the road for long stretches of time – was not going to return to normal anytime soon.

Binge watching favorite shows and deep cleaning the house can only keep you going for so long. When you can utter the next line your favorite character will say – before they say it – you know you’ve over-watched TV!

Although social media is a major part of my job, I found myself staying away from it, only using it for work related tasks and jobs. No more personal use – no more scrolling through social because the negativity, nastiness, lack of acceptance and hatred made me sick to my stomach.

How I Found Patrick Lives On

I spent weeks binge watching the #OneChicago franchise of shows – every season – every episode. As odd as it may sound, this binge watching created an interest in all things Chicago. I made a list of places I would like to visit in Chicago when this mess is over. Places to stay and places to dine.

In my quest to find all things Chicago, I read somewhere on-line a note about Patrick Lives On and a fundraising radiothon that was scheduled for Fall 2020 that would include interviews with some of the actors from the #OneChicago shows. I thought it would be interesting to listen in. Interesting to get a little look into the actors when they aren’t on TV.

Little did I know I would come away more interested in Patrick Lives On, the story of how/why it was created and the woman behind it.

I kept going back to re-read Patrick’s story. As a mother and a grandmother I was heartbroken. The fact that our children can basically be in the wrong place at the wrong time scares the crap out of me. We can’t keep them home in a bubble forever. How can we protect our children – the future of our country – from senseless acts of violence.

This is not only happening in Chicago. It happens everywhere. If you want to know where mass school shootings and gun violence are most likely to occur, look no farther than small-town and suburban America.

How does a mother survive after her child is gunned down in the street?

What is Patrick Lives On

Patrick, just 14, was shot in the neck the night of January 2, 2015, after a reputed gang member fired a gun into a crowd that included rival gang members, authorities said.

Patrick was in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

January 2, 2015 was his mother’s birthday. He sang Happy Birthday after a family dinner. He then begged to go out with his friend. They were going to play basketball at a local gym.

The gym was near an apartment complex in Rosemont, Illinois. At the apartment complex, there was an argument between two rival gang members. No one imagined or thought gun violence among gangs would happen in such a close-by community. But it did. Because it’s everywhere.

Someone pulled out a gun and shot at their rivals and anyone close by. Patrick was shot in the neck as he was running away. He was running back home. He died immediately.

How a mother copes

Patricia Frontain lost her son to a senseless act of violence, took her grief and turned it into a powerful non-profit to help at-risk teens.

In 2016 she founded Patrick Lives On, a Not For Profit which has already enabled over 300 at-risk kids to attend after-school classes and summer camps.

Patrick Lives On is a group of loving and determined citizens taking a stand in support of the safety of all school-age children in the Chicago area with funding for after-school programs, and camps.

Patrick’s mother and a group of caring and loving individuals started Patrick Lives On – To End Gun Violence as a way to honor Patrick and help their community.

Patricia’s job requires she work long hours each day. She is part of the behind the scenes team of Wolf Entertainment that gets one of the One Chicago shows filmed and on the air. After really long days, she still finds the ability to put even more energy into trying to help save another mother from the devastation and grief she has suffered.

In addition, a substantial financial assistance program has been established to enable youth to stay active in extracurricular activities. If children are occupied in positive activities, the lure of gangs and gun violence shall fade into the background.

The coaches, teachers, and counselors of the programs provide the much-needed mentorship for kids during troubled times, keeping kids active in character building activities.

The Patrick Boswell Courage Award honors the memory of Patrick and provides financial support to foster “acts of courage” among middle school students. Students vote for an 8th-grade student who exemplifies positive, productive behavior. It takes courage to say no to guns and gangs and violence. It takes courage to be kind and empathetic to your peers. It takes courage to stand up to bullies and treat people the way you want to be treated. Positive behavior needs to be encouraged, commended and rewarded!

Patrick Lives On will pay up to $500 to the after school or summer camp program of the recipient’s choice.

Films and Public Service Announcements

The Patrick Lives On Film Collective is educational and inspirational short films that are available to rent or purchase with donation fees directly supporting the Patrick Boswell Courage Award, and distribution to Counseling Centers, Detention Centers, etc.

The Patrick Lives On Film Collective and Public Service Announcements are produced to inspire, educate, and enable change. All proceeds contribute to on-going high-quality content programming that benefits the Patrick Lives On mission to encourage youth to “Be Strong. Use Your Words. Not Violence.”

Patrick Lives On has produced many Public Service Announcements starring the cast members of the One Chicago franchise. The Public Service Announcements are part of a series entitled “Shattered – Gun Violence Shatters Lives” and “The Domino Effect – Every Action Has A Reaction”.

Patrick’s mother is fortunate to have many familiar and famous faces to help her create The Patrick Lives on Public Service Announcements as well as help her on her mission to spread the word about ending gun violence.

THE FOLLOWER, part of The Patrick Lives On Film Collective, has been selected for the Eighth Chicago Filmmakers’ Spirit of Chicago virtual showcase, which will premiere online on Monday, March 8th. The film stars Kara Killmer (Chicago Fire) and Jon Seda (Chicago PD).

THE FOLLOWER is a short film that follows a mother and her daughter as they navigate through domestic violence. To the outside world, Mary, John, and their daughter Annie seem like a happy family. But within the walls of their home, it is far from happy. As the mother and child struggle to find their voices they realize that no one should live in fear.

Filming for the next short entitled “UNKNOWING” was scheduled for May 2020 but was postponed until the Spring of 2021. “UNKNOWING” is about the manipulation of young men’s minds – as they are lured into gangs.  This film will be aimed at young men who have already joined a gang or are already in jail, to help them see how they were manipulated at a young age, and as a result, made some bad choices, but that there is always time to turn things around.

Patricia once said in an interview: “I could go under the covers, but the idea of another mother feeling this – ? If I can help some kids that maybe don’t have a choice, or maybe need a little encouragement to go the other way, I will,” she said. “Because the suburban kids don’t know what to do.”

It is not easy, but it is possible to break these cycles. We all DO have a voice and it should be heard. We OWE this to our children.

how to help Patrick Lives On

Some may ask “why should I help an organization that helps children in Chicago when I don’t live there?” Why? Because all children, no matter where they live, are our future. As human beings it is our responsibility to make sure ALL children are safe.

You can help by looking at your own geographic location. What can you do there? Don’t wait until it’s too late and one of your children or a child in your neighborhood is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Share the Patrick Lives On message on social media.

Twitter: @PatrickLivesOn

Instagram: @PatrickLivesOn

Facebook: @PatrickLivesOn

YouTube: Patrick Lives On

LinkedIn: Patrick Lives On

Ways to donate

Due to the pandemic many of the usual events held to support Patrick Lives On were cancelled in 2020 and most likely won’t happen in 2021. Without those events bringing in funds for the organization, Patrick Lives On will not be able to help the kids that really need help.

Patrick Lives On is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that relies on the generosity of individuals, foundations, and corporations, as well as dedicated volunteers, to reach its goals.

Your contribution will help keep at-risk teens safe and engaged. You can make a one-time or monthly donation in any amount.

Or – shop at Amazon Smile. You will be able to donate to Patrick Lives On without actually spending any month.

Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. You shop. Amazon gives. It costs you nothing.

AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. AmazonSmile is available at smile.amazon.com on your web browser and can be activated in the Amazon Shopping app for iOS and Android phones.

When you shop at AmazonSmile, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added benefit that AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. You can choose from over one million organizations to support. I would love if you would choose Patrick Lives On.

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com on your web browser or activate AmazonSmile on your Amazon Shopping app on your iOS or Android phone (found under settings on your app). On your browser, you may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile. When you’re using the app, always check for the “AmazonSmile” logo to ensure you’re activated for AmazonSmile.

You use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

On your first visit to smile.amazon.com, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make through AmazonSmile will result in a donation. AmazonSmile will occasionally contact you about donation amounts disbursed to your chosen charity or about the program.

Once you’ve signed-up to shop on Smile, if you forget to log-in through smile.amazon.com – don’t worry! Amazon will remind you!

Your chosen charity can be seen each time you start shopping in the upper left corner of your screen. You will also be able to see the up-to-date contributions made by Amazon for your shopping by clicking SEE YOUR IMPACT.

Donations enable students to attend-after-school classes and camps keeping hundreds of children off the streets and headed in healthy directions as an alternative to gangs and violence.

Gun Violence

Similar acts of violence happen every day across America! Gun violence knows no color, no religion, and no financial status. It does not care about the victim’s age or stage in life. It does not care that it ruins lives, crushes the victim’s families and tears communities apart.

Every American should be able to live, work, and play in their community free from the threat of gun violence. 

America is in a big hot mess. Many of the important issues that surround us are scary. None more scary than gun violence. Many of us would like to think we live in a safe bubble and we will never be affected by gun violence. Not true.

I live in a resort area. I know there is lots of gun violence here but it is hidden from the news because it isn’t good for tourism – instead we only hear about the horrors of gun violence in big cities across the country. But it is everywhere.

As someone who travels around the United States, I always try to be as informed as possible when it comes to the big cities I will be visiting. After all, I know that the tourism offices that arrange my stay will only be highlighting the best of their destination.

The 2020 statistics on gun violence are frightening. According to the Gun Violence Archive, a total of at least 19,223 people lost their lives due to gun violence in 2020.

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