Musician uses guitar lessons to help kids on South Side


A local man is making Chicago Proud by spending his free time teaching guitar lessons to kids on the city’s South Side.

“I thought my cancer was bad back in the day but the cancer in the streets is really relentless because the only kind of cure that I can see is programs like this,” said Philander Ratliff.

Ratliff spends his time volunteering in the Music Therapy Program at the IMPACT Family Center in Roseland.

“I said well you know I teach guitar for the last 40 years or so and she said come on board so I came on board last year,” he said.

“He just gives of his heart and he loves it and he gets excited when the students get the music and they can really just talk about what’s going on,” said Marsha Eaglin, founder and CEO of IMPACT Family Center.

Students like Timothy Jackson say it’s an escape from the violence on his block.

“I sometimes hear gun shots. It don’t even scare me anymore because I always hear it. I don’t hear no gunshots over here, it’s like safe over here. There’s nothing bad going on it’s like peaceful just like my grandma’s house,” Jackson said.

And for Jada Thompson, it’s a place to express herself.

“Ove the past three years, I came out of my shell and it was breathtaking. I came out of my shell I made a lot of new friends I learned a lot of new things 40:11 I’m more confident and able to be myself here and it’s just wonderful,” Thompson said.

Ratcliff said he sees the he spends volunteering as an investment into the future.

“I’m from the projects and this is a reflection of what I went through 45 years ago and I want to give back to the community and I enjoy it,” he said.

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