The Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners has approved the District’s 2020 budget, which includes $110 million in investments toward programming for youth, teens, and young adults. Highlights include new employment training for teens and additional resources for the Park District’s after-school programming.
In 2020, the Park District will enhance its Park Kids after-school program to provide even more resources to Chicago students and their families. The program, which offers students ages six through 12 a variety of physical activities, arts and crafts, and homework time on school days between 3 and 6 p.m., now will be offered on CPS non-attendance days including holidays, teacher institute days, and winter and spring break.
The district also is partnering with community service providers to bring STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), coding, and other enriching activities to participants during after-school hours. Meal service will be available at more Park Kids locations to ensure children have access to a healthful meal. Officials expect expanded programming will affect 13,000 children and their families.
Also in 2020, the Park District will extend work experience opportunities to teens ages 13 through 15 via the Sports and Recreation Leadership Apprentice Program in partnership with After School Matters. The 20-week program, offered in fall and spring, will engage teens in sports and other areas of interest while exposing them to a broad range of careers in recreation. Students then will have the opportunity to earn stipends through summer work experience or gain seasonal employment with the Chicago Park District.
Park District general superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly said, “From sports to culture and everything between, park programs allow our young people to explore their interests, positively engage in their communities, and provide invaluable support for their families.”
The Park District’s sailing program is expanding for children ages eight through 18. Young sailors will learn rigging, terminology, points of sail, rules, basic navigation, boat handling, docking, and upwind and downwind sailing. The district, in partnership with Endeavor Chicago and the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, will offer youth sailing programs at six locations, serving 1,000 children and teens.
In partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the Park District will bring the Soccer for Success program to parks that have soccer mini-pitches. Programming for youth ages six through 12 will include soccer fundamentals, wellness, and personal development. Soccer for Success will launch at 11 parks as part of after-school programming and will add more locations in the spring.
The Park District will host Teen Opportunity Fairs Saturday, February 15, at Truman College, and Saturday, March 14, at Kennedy King College. Teens 13 through 19 will learn about programs, educational and vocational opportunities, and job readiness.
Families in need can access more than $3 million in financial assistance, in addition to built-in discounts realized through the district’s tiered pricing structure.
For information, log on to https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/, or call (312) 742-PLAY (7529).