An Impressive night at Probation Challenge’s Annual Gala Extravaganza

Share with:

Just A Thought 


By Juanita Bratcher


Hundreds turned out for Probation Challenge’s 31st Annual “Portrait of Achievers Award” this past weekend at Condesa del Mar; a gala that won’t soon be forgotten. And many of those in attendance were people who have supported Rev. Harold Bailey and his Probation Challenge program over the years. 

If one has to wonder about the goodness of God and his offerings to those who follow his word, they would have seen it close up Friday night at the annual event. Bailey has maintained his following, despite a major setback to his program after being ousted from the facilities of Olive-Harvey College. God is good; His mercy is everlasting.

And Bailey hasn’t missed a beat in sticking to his morals, principles and dedication to helping troubled youth. He has God on his side; and there’s no failure in God.

Bailey, Founder and President of Probation Challenge, knows from where his help cometh, and he said as much during his annual event, August 20, 2010.

“Given a thousand tongues, I could not thank God enough! Yes, I truly thank God for the many years I’ve worked in the vineyard of life seeking to retrieve the lost sheep that has gone astray. Many of the thousands of wayward youth (in his program) have now graduated and returned back into society as meaningful and productive persons, as taxpayers and not tax burdens.”

Moreover, Bailey noted that “When some said changing the hearts and minds of those I’ve worked with would be impossible…God allowed our success stories to be well spoken of.”

Although the program (Probation Challenge) was scaled back somewhat after the eviction, Bailey is looking for another facility for his program. Those who are familiar with his work and tireless efforts know that he won’t stop until that happens; that he will continue to be a voice to many struggling youth who need the leadership that Bailey provides. And I truly believe that when God is in the plan things will continue to prosper. God’s plans cannot be destroyed.

In 1994, I released a book of poems, “I Cry For A People: In Their Struggle For Justice & Equality.” One of the poems was an Ode to Rev. Harold Bailey, entitled, “He Dared To Change The System”, which follows:

It was 1979

When Bailey presented his plan

Challenging the world of probation

And armed with proposal in hand

He dared to change the system

And challenged the powers that be

He was compelled to help young people

To keep them out of prison, you see

So he created Probation Challenge

To deal with social ills

But lo and behold he was challenged

And the program they tried to kill

He refused to let them stop him

His vision he would staunchly defend

And he kept on shaking the bushes

Until he got some help from his friends

He never said he was perfect

Well aware that all men make mistakes

But he had no time for failure

And the wrath of others’ dictates

He vowed total commitment

To turn young people around

His dedication is unquestionable

And his personal sacrifices have all been sound

There’s no bitterness for those in opposition

He has conquered what he set out to do

Working hard and building bridges

In the midst of a hostile few

Some men wait for others

To work and toil the fields

Rev. Bailey has offered a whisper of hope

To many youth over the years

He has time for everybody’s children

Gives special attention to some

His support is never ending

And clients know where he’s coming from

He’s had his trials, tribulations too

And through his program, youth have been saved

He refuses to a pawn for any man

And has managed to stay unscathed

He’s a man who’s trying to do good

His ego never a part of his work

He’s uncompromising in principles

And total commitment he never shirks

The victories have been many

The praises have been few

But that never stopped his caring

Or the things that he had to do

He challenged his clients’ behavior

Provided education and counseling too

But most of all he turned some around

And for them, life started anew

So an ode to Rev. Bailey

May he continue his work for many, many years

And may the fruits of his labor send a message to all

That dedication is a challenge without fears

Aside from Bailey’s elegant message at the event, it was center stage for the night’s entertainment – the world’s famous Impressions and Gospel Singer Calvin Bridges.

Some of the dignitaries in attendance were Judge Mary Maxwell Thomas, Justice Blanche Manning, Justice William Cousins, Jr., Helen Sinclair, Illinois State Representative Constance Howard, Bishop Will Boyd and others. Journalists Juanita Bratcher and Chinta Strausberg were Award Presenters.

There were many Resolutions read in regards to Rev. Bailey and Probation Challenge’s highly successful program in providing outstanding service to young people and the community, including one from Cook County Board President Todd H. Stroger that stated “…On behalf of the more than five-million residents of Cook County, do hereby express my sincere appreciation to Reverend Harold E. Bailey for all that Probation Challenge is doing to transform the lives of youth across Cook County.”

If you’d like to help Rev. Bailey and Probation Challenge in their effort to help troubled youth or to contribute, call (773) 978-3706.   

Share with:

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :