Life at the Jonquil Hotel w/ Jim Groark
The Jonquil Hotel is not just a single room occupancy residence — it’s one big family. In this caring, chaotic, energetic, loud and loving community you’ll find people like Jim. Jim is a Chicago native who first came to the Jonquil Hotel 15 years ago, and has lived there ever since. After the passing of his mother, he was seeking a new environment to regroup and start anew. Jim was drawn to Good News Partners because he felt that the foundational mission of the organization was aligned with his own beliefs and values. Hoping to find a community that gave him comfort and community, Jim found his home at the Jonquil Hotel.
Working at the front desk at the Jonquil Hotel, Jim also doubles as security for the building. Anyone who enters into the building, has to come through him. He takes a real pride in his position and believes “my job is life giving to meet and talk to people on a daily basis” and he loves that he gets to meet so many people from all different walks of life.
An avid reader, Jim taught himself how to read at the age of 5. He has spent most of his life in Chicago with the exception of the years he spent away in college. Notably, Jim studied psychology at West Georgia College and lived not far from where Former President Jimmy Carter purchased his suits.
Jim started following Christ shortly before he moved back to Chicago after completing graduate school. Regrettably, he never used his degree for work because he lost the desire for what he could do with psychology. At the time, the study of psychology was not as vast as it is today, but wishes that he could have gotten into practicing therapy for families in need. Now, Jim has a desire to help plant churches and introduce people to Christ. He believes that bringing people to Christ is “the only thing worth telling people”.
Back in early 2000, Jim describes the North of Howard neighborhood as a place that lacked resources and an area that lacked hope and opportunity. For Jim, the improvements that have been made in the area over the past 10 years has been encouraging and the image of the area is certainly more positive than it has been in the past.
According to Jim, one of the biggest benefits to being in the Good News Partners community was meeting Bud and staff at GNP and taking comfort in knowing that they too were followers of Christ and have pure intentions to help others above anything else. Richard Marks, the Hotel's manager says, “The purpose of the Jonquil is to glorify God by providing housing, spiritual nourishment, and opportunities to move on into their own apartment or home.” Our Jonquil Hotel serves as the “2nd stage” in our housing continuum, although many of the current and past residents like Jim started in the Jonquil and call it their permanent home.