Skip to contents
Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Wicker Park Couple Plans Peace Walk, Apprenticeships From Their Neighborhood Framing Shop

The owners of the framing shop are organizing a back-to-school donation event and march for peace Sept. 4.

Helendora and Sylvester "Tommy" Samuels at last year's March for Peace at the Helendora Samuels Picture Framing Shop.
Provided by Helendora Samuels.
  • Credibility:

WICKER PARK — The couple behind Helendora Samuels Picture Framing are hosting a peace march over Labor Day weekend.

The march will start 1 p.m. Sept. 4 at the framing shop, 1736 W. North Ave. Store owners Helendora and Sylvester “Tommy” Samuels are organizing the event with the Righteous Way of Living Ministry and Austin-based nonprofit Stepping Out in Faith: I Am Austin. 

The couple hosted the same march last year in response to 2020’s surge in violent crime. The inspiration for this year’s event is similar, the two said, as the march is focused mostly on creating a space “where we can find a common ground for peace.” 

“Over in this area, [crime] has flared up, died down, flared back up again — mostly carjackings,” Tommy Samuels said.

The march will also be a back-to-school donation event, with backpacks and other school supplies available for grade-school-aged children in Wicker Park and surrounding neighborhoods, the couple said.

Helendora Samuels is accepting donations at the framing shop 1-4 p.m each day leading up to the event. 

“Wicker Park has been a building block for the organization and the ministry, and we’ve been trying to help children from underserved neighborhoods,” Helendora Samuels said. “We’re reaching out to them and to kids in [Wicker Park], as well.” 

In addition to the march, the Samuels want to start a training program at the framing shop to offer youths a productive outlet and opportunity to build skills. 

“If we can teach people to frame, these are real jobs that they can have,” Sylvester Samuels said. “We want to teach the framing side and the corporate side.”

The training program would further the couple’s mission of promoting peace and uniting the youth of Chicago’s neighborhoods. 

“How can this neighborhood provide help to children in underprivileged neighborhoods?” Helendora Samuels said. “We want to teach the youth in this neighborhood and create a bridge with kids in other neighborhoods and hopefully, bring them into common ground.” 

To learn more about the Samuels’ framing business or the March for Peace event, you can email them or call 312-770-0713.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: