Celebrating Our First Annual Community Cup

Urban Initiatives’ (UI) first annual Community Cup was a complete success in celebrating the youth engaged in UI’s programs this year. Historically, we celebrate our youth and the end of the school year through the Work to Play Cup, which is a celebration of community and the power of play. This year, to commemorate the Work to Play Cup and meet the virtual needs of our community, we launched the Community Cup!

Supported by Presenting Sponsor, Target, the Community Cup was a month-long event, celebrating the resilience and strength of our youth throughout this difficult year. To kick off the celebrations, UI’s team distributed super fun play kits, filled with lots of goodies to promote play at home. The play kits included a ball, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, a jump rope, notebook, some UI pencils and stickers, and an activity booklet. After our youth received play kits, they were encouraged to participate in “May, the Month of Play” by trying games outlined in the activity booklet and getting outside with their friends and family. 

May, the Month of Play culminated with a live virtual event this past Friday, May 28, hosted over Zoom. We were so thrilled to have our coaches, students, families, staff, stakeholders and friends join us in order to celebrate together. Hosted by one of UI’s very own coaches, Chanelle McFarland, and middle school participant Artino, guests were treated to an hour of games, videos, and reflection about this year. It was especially fun to highlight voices from our various school communities and hear about how this year has challenged them but helped their school communities to grow. Thank you to Principal Valente from Barnard, Principal Guerrero from Ravenswood, Donna Wade (an LRA at Back of the Yard), Jany Cisneros (a UI parent), Victor (a UI Middle School Participant) and Jennifer & Julian (UI High School Participants for sharing your insights. 

We are also proud to say that we honored several of UI’s stakeholders through various awards and were very excited to present each of them with their awards. UI’s former Associate Board President, Young Kwak, was presented with the Community Impact Award for his dedication to UI’s students and volunteers for over ten years. In addition, the Most Valuable Partner Award was presented to Slalom, for their countless hours of professional consultation, participation in our latest equipment drive, and their general support of our events. We were also absolutely thrilled to honor our Coach of the Year, Victor Ramirez. Victor is a coach with UI at Nobel and has been an excellent example of what a positive and supportive coach looks like. We are so proud to have him on our team.

Finally, we wanted to take the time to honor students who have shown strength, resilience, and determination in their remote learning over the past year. We were proud to honor Alino, Isaac, Demetrius, Kaiden, Makeylla, Matthew, Valeria, and Victoria for their exemplary work during a difficult remote learning year. Once again, congratulations to ALL of our awardees!

Thank you SO much to all our supporters for joining us on Friday and special shoutout to all of our sponsors including Target, Storck, Northern Trust, Kirkland & Ellis, the Hirshman Family, Mary & Barry Quirke, Woodman, Cison & Associates, Citadel, the Coffman Family, the Mulaney-Gryzenia Family, the Feldman Family, Susan & Tom Pigott, Susan & Steve Fortier, the Reckley Family, the Guerrero Family, Margaret & Joe Tilson, and the Bakalar Family. We are grateful for your support and look forward to hopefully seeing everyone in person at the Community Cup next year! 

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