UNIVERSITY VILLAGE – The University of Illinois at Chicago has opened its swimming pool and sports fields to children in Pilsen through a new partnership with Pilsen-based Luv City.
The summer pilot program began on Tuesday and will run until August 9. On Tuesdays children from 12 to 18 years old will use the swimming pool and on Thursdays they can use the sports fields. The program is completely free for families, funded by UIC and sponsor RR Callahan Company.
There are still a handful of spots in the program that families in the 25th Ward can apply for, Luv City executive director Andre Rodriguez said. Those interested can contact Rodriguez via Luv City website.
Luv City is a new neighborhood non-profit that aims to give children a creative outlet and “directly tackle the cycles of poverty and violence through youth engagement in digital arts and show,” according to its website.
Rodriguez said he hopes this summer’s program with UIC will go well so that it can continue and expand next summer.
This summer’s schedule comes as Pilsen’s two main swimming pools – Harrison Park swimming pool and Dvorak Park swimming pool – are not expected to open this season as the district faces a shortage of lifeguards which has made it difficult to hire enough of staff for all beaches and pools in Chicago.
“Beyond access to swimming pools and athletic fields, we will also engage young people with weekly discussions that will cover topics such as financial awareness, mental health, artistic creativity and other relevant areas. to their interests,” Amalia Pallares, UIC Vice-Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Engagement, said in a press release. “We view this pilot project as an important resource for local youth as well as an expansion and deepening of our community collaborations and partnerships in Pilsen.”
In the press release, Ald of the region. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) thanked UIC for partnering with Luv City to provide these opportunities for local youth.
“Our community has a responsibility to our young people, to guide them in the right direction to succeed,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
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