I was invited by the United Way of Lake County to be a guest at their Hometown Huddle with the Chicago Bears. The Chicago Bears, through the NFL’s Play 60 initiative, were helping to build a universally accessible playground and encourage the students at Clearview Elementary to be physically active.
Clearview Elementary in Waukegan is the largest public school in Waukegan with 700+ students. It is also home to the largest number of special needs students in the district but had no universally accessible playground. While at the event, I got to see the layout and the framework for the new playground. The current playground(s) available to them is down a grassy hill from the building. As a babywearing mom in heels, it was hard to access; it was nearly impossible in a wheelchair. Many of the players helped the aides get their students up and down the hill to participate in the activities. I saw first hand how grateful and happy these students were to participate in outdoor activities with the school.
Along with the universally accessible playground, there will also be a new fitness zone created with a $20,000 grant from NFL charities and the Chicago Bears to encourage children to be physically active. The school hopes that promoting physical fitness will improve their children’s health and lower its absenteeism rate.
You can help too. On Saturday, October 22, 2011, volunteers are needed from 8:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. to assist contractors in assembling the new universally accessible playground. This is open to all adults willing to volunteer their time and talents. Visit www.liveunitedlakecounty.org to sign-up. Volunteers may sign up for one or both sessions.
Breakfast and lunch provided thanks to McDonald’s and Jimano’s Pizza of Waukegan.
WHERE: Clearview Elementary School, 1700 Delaware Road, Waukegan
In addition to the NFL, Chicago Bears and the United Way the following also donated time, money, or equipment: Gurnee Community Church, Camosy Cronstruction and Campanella & Sons, Jimmanos Pizza, McDonald’s
About the NFL- United Way Hometown Huddle:
Since 1999, NFL teams have participated in a variety of hands-on community service projects, known collectively as Hometown Huddle. The NFL/United Way Hometown Huddle is a league-wide day of service designed to bring awareness and impact to the issue of youth health and fitness. During Hometown Huddle, NFL players, coaches, and leadership participate in a variety of youth fitness projects in different NFL cities across the country on the same day—building fitness zones, hosting youth football clinics, rebuilding neighborhood playgrounds, upgrading fitness facilities. The NFL/United Way partnership connects NFL PLAY 60 with United Way’s goal of 1.9 million more healthy young people by 2018. Designed to tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL’s long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations like the United Way.
About United Way of Lake County:
United Way of Lake County (UWLC) is preparing our children to succeed in a changing world by focusing on education and building safe and stable families. Working with nonprofit agencies and community partners, we have identified four key programs to prepare children to succeed: Success By 6 Program – prepare for kindergarten; Reading Success Program – read at grade level; Stay in School Program – graduate high school; Safe and Stable Families Program – empowering families. UWLC is overcoming reading and educational barriers by reaching children, from preschool through high school, through these key programs. The overall effect and benefits are multiplied by the strong collaboration with agencies and our community partners.