Hernandez drives away from an encampment after handing out supplies. "I used to get a lot of messages of people like, 'Oh my god, how do I do that?'" she said. "And I'm like, 'Dude, it’s so easy.'" Hernandez said people get intimidated by the idea of conducting outreach on their own. "They're like, 'Holy shit, I can't do it,'" she said. "And I’m like, 'Yeah, you can!' You can do whatever you put your heart and mind to." Credit: Keerti Gopal/Block Club Chicago

BELMONT CRAGIN — Melissa Hernandez is lucky to be alive. Now, she’s focused on helping other Chicagoans facing similar struggles.

On “It’s All Good,” the Belmont Cragin resident describes her harrowing journey from a life of drugs, gangs and sex trafficking to founding the Puerto Rico Project.

With a team of volunteers, Hernandez’s organization provides essential services and support to Puerto Rican victims of addiction and trafficking in Chicago.

“I see what you did there, universe,” Hernandez says on Episode 16. “My whole life and struggle was preparing me for this situation. For this project.”

Hernandez says her next goal is to raise the money for a mobile shower unit to help Chicago’s unhoused population. People who wish to donate to the group can do so online.

Hernandez’s own experience makes her uniquely positioned for this work. Remembering her recovery, she said, “It was really torturous. When you shed these parts of who you need to shed and who you no longer are, it’s painful.” Credit: Keerti Gopal/Block Club Chicago

Episode 16 also features our first “It’s All Good” neighborhood sponsor. Members of St. Paul’s UCC have been fans of the podcast since its launch, and we’re excited to help them spread good news happening through their congregation and outreach efforts.

Make sure to subscribe on AppleSpotify or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

If you have good news, share it with the team by emailing podcast@blockclubchi.org. Feel free to record a voice memo of your news so we can share it with all our listeners!

New episodes of “It’s All Good” go live most Thursdays.

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You can find all episodes of ‘It’s All Good’ here: