Friday Game Day with the Urban Initiatives Junior Board

Junior Board member Jose Garcia shares his experience from the #UIJB Volunteer Day.

Imagine yourself walking into an indoor stadium, not fully knowing what to expect. Now imagine walking through the doors and seeing dozens of families, Urban Initiatives staff, fellow UI Junior Board members, and close to 100 UI Work to Play soccer players all greet you with open arms. This was the scenario that played out during the 2015 Junior Board Volunteer Day.

Students from Lee, Greene, and Gunsaulus Elementary were all invited to compete, learn, and ultimately have fun with one another at the Chicago Indoor Sports facility in the McKinley Park neighborhood this past Friday, April 24th. As part of this event, members of the Urban Initiatives’ Junior Board were asked to participate in an afternoon of giving back to the students we serve by being coaches or referees (I myself prefer to be bias and root for a team, so I signed up to be a coach!). After three 20 minutes games and a conversation with the players on healthy lifestyle tips, we finished the event by taking pictures and enjoying some healthy snacks. Needless to say that my age is becoming more apparent by how tired I was compared to how active these students still were at the end – I’m seriously considering canceling my gym membership and just coach full time instead!

Participating in such events always reminds me of the great work that Urban Initiatives does for its students. Seeing those kids running around, laughing, and cheering each other on in a safe environment demonstrates that UI continues succeeding in achieving its mission of empowering, improving, and building Chicago’s underserved children. UI is able to do this because of what each and every one of you does – whether it’s fundraising, volunteering, or just bringing awareness to your network. So the next time there’s an event, I invite you to come out and experience first hand the rewarding feeling you receive after getting a “thank you, coach” and a high five from a student; I guarantee you’ll want to come back, just as soon as you rest up a bit and maybe ice those knees…

I want to thank all of the dedicated Junior Board members that took time out of their busy schedules for joining us at this year’s Volunteer Day. Each of you made an amazing impact in each of those child’s lives. Thank You!

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