A fundraising campaign for PLAN4SUCCESS

Dear Partner in Youth Development,

My name is Nickie Brookens and I grew up in North Lawndale on Chicago's westside. Raised by my Grandparents, I've always had an old soul! I learned how to organize block clean ups and make teacakes from my maternal Grandmother and her mother.  My paternal Grandmother was an expert on training children in all things etiquette and cooking soul food. 

I attended public and catholic schools and moved to Maywood where attended Proviso East High School.  After being told I was not college material, I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a B.A. in Public Administration. My two children were raised in the South Suburban Homewood-Flossmoor area. Doors opened up for my son to attend the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools for high school where neither his peers or school lacked resources!

Servant to others is in my DNA from powerful examples through the women in my family, my parents and working in my Aunt Edna's Restaurant. She owned Edna's Restaurant for 44 years and served political servants from Martin Luther King Jr. up to then senator Barack Obama including 2 Presidents, Kennedy and Carter.  At any given time, you could walk in the restaurant and see anyone from your neighbor, the Mayor, Jamie Foxx, professional athletes, Oprah, and community servants on every level. Her mentorship through example, encouragement, and connection to employing ex-felons cultivated a training methodology that I share with youth everyday! 


During my son's 4 years of high school, he had 3 male cousins shot in the streets of Chicago. At the time, I had been a 20+year school volunteer pondering my next steps in finding solutions to the war on minority youth in Chicago. My mind started to process the difference in how much education, environment and the connection to the right resources determines the most beneficial and productive outcomes for our youth! I started to write my thoughts on paper and said if we could create an organized way to allow students, parents, and the communities resources to interconnect, we could create a process where we all work TOGETHER to Participate to Learn how to take Action and Network.  

Preparation met opportunity when I crossed paths with a fellow U of C parent whom I shared my thoughts with in a conversation. At the end of this spontaneous and raw conversation, we were both crying! He gave me his card, appointed an attorney to me from his law firm, and created PLAN4SUCCESS free of charge. Now I have work to do, right!


Work is what we've done since 2016. With our Board of Directors and volunteers, 500 youths have been impacted from our 12 life skills workshops and 52 scholarships awarded to our college scholars. We have support from individual donors, family FUNdraisers, small grants, and crowd funding campaigns. We have had matching gift donations from Novartis, State Farm and Baxalta. In-kind donations have come from four of Chicago's professional sports teams, East Bank Club, south suburban sports facilities, Brookins Funeral Home, local businesses in the Homewood-Flossmoor areas and others.



With your support, we help kids like Andre. Andre submitted an application for one of our scholarships.  His submission had great bones.  However, it wasn't reflective of the other applications submitted by his peers.  Our scholarship committee had selected the scholars who would receive awards.  It was only one legacy scholarship left.    I requested a meeting with Andre to discuss how his scholarship application could have been stronger.  After pointing out several areas of improvement, he updated his essay and resume on the spot per his choice!  After editing his resume, essay and discussing how to present his best professional appearance, we connected him to the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Intern X Network.  Andre took the necessary steps to Participate to Learn how to take Action and Network.  It was beyond my pleasure to award him the Samuel William Mitchell Legacy Scholarship.


Help us continue to serve the Youth of Chicago by making a donation today!  By doing so you will help PLAN4SUCCESS move forward in solidifying a database for our stakeholders, engage our scholars to intern for areas of need within our organization and help us bring our 2nd Annual Teen Leadership Conference back in 2020.

To learn more visit our website at or email

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