CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared the week of July 9 PlayStreets Week 2018 bringing together dozens of community groups to host more than a dozen events to encourage children and their families to get out and play - focusing special attention on neighborhoods with limited resources. PlayStreets Week provides neighborhoods the chance to create community-level fun and fitness in a concentrated period of time.
"Every child in every neighborhood deserves the opportunity to enjoy a play-filled summer," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "PlayStreets provides our children and their families more opportunities to get and stay active while having fun in their community."
There are 170 PlayStreets events scheduled during the summer of 2018. PlayStreets promotes physical activity and healthy eating in communities where safeplay spaces are limited and where there are higher incidences of childhood obesity and sedentary behavior. Though geared to youth, PlayStreets encourages children and their families to get and stay active in the neighborhoods where they live.
"PlayStreets is a key part of Healthy Chicago 2.0, our citywide effort to ensure every child has the opportunity to grow up healthy and safe," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. "PlayStreets brings together communities, neighbors and families to encourage all of our residents to practice healthy lifestyles."
PlayStreets events take over a residential block, closing it off from traffic for three to four hours and transforming the area into a play-filled summer oasis that includes sports activities, dancing, games, fitness classes, healthy snacks and bounce houses. Last summer, more than 25,000 residents participated in PlayStreets events and the program celebrated it's 100,000th participant at the dedication of the Brighton Park Elementary School playground.
CDPH and its partners Gads Hill and World Sport Chicago are working closely this summer with 26 neighborhood-based community groups so that the activities that are planned for the children in specific communities are tailor-made to their liking. Communities hosting events this summer include Auburn Gresham, Austin, Belmont Cragin, Brighton Park, Chicago Lawn, Douglas, Edgewater, Englewood, Fuller Park, Gage Park, Garfield Park, Grand Boulevard, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Logan Square, North Lawndale, Oakland, Rogers Park, South Chicago, South Lawndale, South Shore, Uptown, West Englewood, West Garfield Park and Woodlawn.
"The power of play for adults and children can create a long-lasting commitment to fitness and a healthy lifestyle. By creating opportunities to exercise within your own neighborhood while playing and having fun, PlayStreets aims to help Chicagoans enjoy the benefits of exercise and sports," said Kam Buckner, Executive Director of World Sport Chicago.
"PlayStreets is a community celebration. It's an opportunity for Chicago's diverse communities to build on their existing strengths to instill in Chicago's youngest residents a life-long love for health and fitness," said Maricela Garcia, CEO, Gads Hill.
Community partners assisting the PlayStreets program during the Summer of 2018 include 1st Holy Zion Hopeful Presence Outreach, Be the Moment Youth Network, Boys and Girls Club of Logan Square, Breakthrough, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, BUILD, Inc., Cary T. AME Church, Centro Comunitario Juan Diego, Centro Romero, Chicago Youth Centers-Epstein, Chinese Mutual Aid Association, Claretian Associates, Demoiselle 2 Femme, Garfield Park Community Council, Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, Hyde Park Kenwood Legends, Jesus World Center Church, Kells Park Community Council, LUCHA, Mary Crane Centers, Northwest Side Housing Center, Southwest Organizing Project, The Community Builders, Woodlawn Public Safety Alliance, Universidad Popular and Westside Health Authority.
For further details about the PlayStreets Program, including the calendar of events go to www.playstreets.org. For more information on CDPH and Healthy Chicago 2.0, visit www.CityofChicago.org/HEALTH.