Youth advocate receives Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award

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Michael Tidmore (front) is flanked by St. Bernard Hospital officials. Hospital CEO Charles Holland is at far right.

Michael Tidmore wants young people to know “That they can make a difference in their lives and a change in the world,” he says. On the 87th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and St. Bernard Hospital held its 19th annual celebration honoring the life and legacy of the civil rights champion. This year’s honoree, Michael Tidmore, is a restorative justice advocate in Englewood, who has become an example to at-risk youth that they can turn their lives around.

Mr. Tidmore served nearly 10 years in prison for his role in an armed robbery and murder that was committed when he was 18 years old (1979 – 1989). While incarcerated Mr. Tidmore became a peer counselor for other inmates and has continued his work to mitigate violence and provide access to opportunity for young people. He has been certified as community mediator to deescalate issues in the community by the United States Department of Justice (2000).

Perry Gunn, executive director of Teamwork Englewood, where Mr. Tidmore is employed as the program coordinator for youth programs, says, “Mr. Tidmore has done outstanding work with youth in the Englewood community.” He has spent the past seven years mentoring youth, and teaching them effective strategies on how to avoid violence. As part of the Restorative Justice Program Mr. Tidmore has performed duties such as leading peace circles that help youth develop effective conflict management and communication skills, as well as avoid bullying.

“Since leaving prison Michael has served as a positive role model and mentor for hundreds of Englewood youth,” says Gunn. Mr. Tidmore coordinated Teamwork Englewood’s African American Male Initiative, which operated for five years until funding was cut. The Initiative targeted young men 10-18 years old that were vulnerable to gang recruitment and dropping out of school. Despite the end of the program, Mr. Tidmore maintains his relationship with many of the young men today.

Michael Tidmore and young men he has mentored

Michael Tidmore and youth he has mentored

As program coordinator for Youth Programs at Teamwork Englewood, Mr. Tidmore continues his impactful work with the youth. He assists in facilitating the Youth Asset Development Project, a program that supports high school youth with academic support and mentoring; 50-60 youth participate in this program each year. Additionally, Mr. Tidmore is co-facilitator of the Englewood Codes program, which teaches youth how to build mobile phone applications as well as design websites.

This past summer, he worked with the Hoops in the Hood basketball program that served boys and girls ages 10-19. This sports program has served approximately 100 area youth with weekly basketball games and skill development, but also included a violence prevention component. In addition, he served as a mentor for the Englewood Police Youth Baseball League, where he led a series of life skills workshops for 100 baseball league participants.

About the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Service Award

Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Humanitarian Service Award is presented by the Community Relations Committee of St. Bernard Hospital to honorees whose efforts preserve the ideals of Dr. King – dignity, education, employment, fairness and justice for all people. The award shines a spotlight on people and organizations that are actively involved in improving their communities. St. Bernard’s annual award has been presented to social service agencies, legislators and community advocates serving the South Side of Chicago.