We want to share some of the stories of our neighbors in South East Oak Park and there’s really no one better to start with than Jim Kelly. Jim was one of the founders of SEOPCO in 2003. He was one of a small group of people inspired to form a community organization that would work diligently to create a reinvigorated sense of place and identity for the our neighborhood, and to showcase the south east area to the rest of Oak Park as a vibrant, diverse and welcoming place to live.
Here’s a little bit more about Jim Kelly and his partner, Bruce Broerman.
Jim and Bruce live on the 1000 block of south Harvey. Jim was a Peace Corp volunteer, then worked for 25 years in Peace Corps training. He moved to the neighborhood in 1988 to join lives with Bruce. Jim and Bruce were founding members of the Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association. Bruce has two children and five grandchildren who affectionately call them Papa Bruce and Papa Jim. In this year of 2020, the oldest is graduating from high school and will be off to college, while the youngest will finish kindergarten and begin first grade. Jim served as a SEOPCO board member for 13 years, and current board members still call on Jim’s expertise and experience.
The thing that Jim loves most about living in SEOP is his neighbors.
One thing that he has learned about the neighborhood is that some Oak Parkers used to call the neighborhood “North Berwyn” as a derogatory term. These days we are proudly South East Oak Park.
Jim describes SEOPCO as a neighborhood advocate.
We’ll be posting more of the South East Oak Park stories. If you’d like to share your story with us, we’d love to hear it. You can use this Google form to submit a response.