Meet Urban Initiatives' Graduates

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Coach Adam and Coach Brendan attended the Attucks 8th grade graduation on Monday, June 9th to watch Urban Initiatives’ very first Attucks Work to Play soccer players Justin Smart, Daquan Hall and Renardo Coburn graduate! 

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Field Days Across the City Celebrate a Year of PWP

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What better way to celebrate the end of a school year than with field day? Urban Initiatives’ Play with Potential schools across the city pulled out all the stops and celebrated summer fun. From Albany Park to Roseland, Urban Initiatives REC coordinators organized special events to celebrate a year of active recess.

Daley and Fulton schools started their days off with a performance by the Jessie White tumblers, getting the kids all pumped up for the rest of the fun filled day of recess games (dunk tanks, of course)!

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Second Annual Work to Play Cup


Way back in the middle of winter, Urban Initiatives’ team set their minds on the end of May, where warmer weather would bring everyone’s favorite event of the year, the Second Annual Work to Play Cup. The event was a huge success, and it could not have been possible without the support of all the sponsors, volunteers, coaches, families and of course, the kids.

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The Cubs Can't Wait for Summer Camp!

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This year, the Cubs on the Move Fitness Trolley just couldn’t wait until July to start getting kids active! Teamed up for a second year with Urban Initiatives, the Fitness Trolley traveled to 4 Chicago public schools for “Preseason Training Camp,” so that kids and Cubs could get ready for summer.

Urban Initiatives hosted  weekly preseason camp at Daley, Palmer, Fulton and Beidler schools to discuss physical health, the value of teamwork, and (most importantly) to brush up on their sports skills in anticipation of an active summer!

At Palmer, Ms. Robinson’s 3rd grade practiced proper batting and base running. Many of the students held a bat for the first time ever! Afterwards, they snacked on apples in the trolley and discussed nutrition with Cubs pitchers Neil Ramirez and Wesley Wright. “Is fruit punch healthy?” asked Alex. The class determined that, although it claims to be fruit, they can only know if juice is healthy if it says “100% juice” on the label.

At Beidler and Fulton, everyone’s favorite visitor was Clark, the Cubs’ furry mascot! His antics made everyone laugh, and kids loved having him pitch to them while they practiced base running. At Daley, students enjoyed discussing teamwork. It turns out that we aren’t just on a team when we play sports…our classroom is a team, as well as our family and our community!

Thanks, Cubs! We’re looking forward to staying fit this summer and we’ll see you when the trolley rolls up!

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Christ Church Summer Rummage Sale

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Come out to Winnetka's Christ Church Summer Rummage Sale this Saturday, June 7th beginning at 8am. 

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The Adair Group Keeps our Work to Play Cup Sponsors Looking Fresh

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Adair.jpgWith just one day to go before the second annual Work to Play Cup, we wanted to give a big shout out to one of our amazing supporters this year, The Adair Group.

The Adair team generously donated 60 shirts to Urban Initiatives, and thanks to their support, our sponsors will take the field in style with very limited edition 2014 Work to Play Cup shirts. As you can see from the picture, our sponsors are going to look great, and by the time we host our 10th Work to Play Cup, the shirts will have serious throwback status.

A huge thank you to everyone at The Adair Group for their generosity. See you tomorrow from 10:00 – 2:00 at the Midway Plaisance in Hyde Park!

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The Perfect Day for McNair's First Friday Game Day


It was a game time decision: to play or not to play? After a day’s worth of heavy rains, we were unsure if fields could handle a game day. There were some tense hours, but, at 1pm, we got the green light and then the smiles and shouting began!

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All Teams Sponsored for 2nd Annual Work to Play Cup

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It's almost that time of year again! The 2014 Work to Play Cup is just around the corner and the excitement from kids and familes across Chicago continues to grow. Urban Initiatives would like to thank all of the amazing sponsors that make this event happen. Without you our kids would not be able to enjoy such a unique and fun day! 

For the second consecutive year all 29 Work to Play Schools are sponsored so on Saturday, May 31st Midway Plaisance will see over 900 girls and boys from 25 different Chicago communities will all come together for a celebration of their hard work through the school year.

See everyone on May 31st! 

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Fundraising is Fun at Claremont!


The student-athletes of the NCAA basketball teams were not the only ones in the spotlight of March Madness. Students at Claremont Academy took a different spin on the annual basketball tournament that captivates avid basketball fans for an entire month.

Thanks to Urban Initiatives and a grant funded by the Chicago Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), the students of Claremont participated in the first annual Claremont March Madness healthy fundraiser. 

Over the course of three weeks, students obtained pledges and facilitated an alchemy of virtue where they learned that fundraising can be fun! The younger students in grades K-5 gathered pledges based on how many times they could jump rope in five minutes. The older grades participated in a "free throw-a-thon," taking 100 total shots and gathering pledges based on the number of baskets they could make. With over 20 participants, including staff, the first annual March Madness raised over $350 that will be reinvested in the school toward sports equipment for PE and recess.

The top 6 jumpers and shooters received customized Claremont Academy School polo t-shirts that can be worn as school uniforms; a good way to show-off the fruits of their labor while taking pride in their work. This event has helped rally Claremont students around the fact that play can be a powerful tool for making their school a more positive community. 

Congratulations to Claremont's REC Coordinator, Coach Stephanie, for dreaming up this fundraiser to remind us all that there are lots of ways to raise money that don't rely on unhealthy food!

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Parents Share Recipes at 1st "Healthy Junta"

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Food is great way to bring families and communities together.  Urban Initiatives partnered with Healthy Schools Campaign to have our first Healthy Junta cook-off hosted at Little Village Academy.  Parents from Daley, Gunsaulus, McCormick, and LVA each brought dishes that are healthy, delicious, and representative of their culture. Each school had a guest judge, and Guillermo Gomez from Healthy Schools Campaign made the  opening remarks!


Groups consisted of 3-5 parents working together to create a healthy dish to enter into the showcase.  A representative from each school explained how they choose their recipe and what modifications were made. Moms glowed with pride as they presented their dish, and everyone's mouth watered as they looked forward to tasting.

McCormick School brought a tasty chicken mango salad with wheat crackers. They were recognized for "Most Creative Use of Ingredients." Little Village brought water flavored with lemons and cucumbers along with fresh veggie pasta salad that included broccoli, cauliflower, black beans, tomatoes, and a homemade Italian dressing.  They won Best Use of Vegetables. Gunsaulus brought a homemade orange mango juice with diced mangos, apples, and chamoy for that extra spicy kick. They also brought a pescado-con-salsa recipe that was to die for!

Nora Avila, Parent Advocate, said, “It was a great event because if brought parents from others school, made new friends, and shared recipes. This really promoted family engagement and showed parents that eating healthy can be fun and delicious!”

The first Healthy Junta was such a success that the next one is already on the calendar! 

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