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On Saturday July 27th we hosted our dedication event for Word Play Way in Douglas Park, Chicago, IL. The event was a huge success with over 35 people in attendance. During our time in the park, we had the winning poet, Aniyah Orr Howard, read her poem which you can find here. In addition to Ms. Howard’s reading, we also enjoyed poetry readings from Ariel Walton and Jupiter Dandridge; you can find their poems and brief information about them on our website. UCAN's Beautiful Mindz Poetry Slam group read their submission, The Garden, for our poetry contest, also. Word Play Way was then dedicated to Douglas Park with a ribbon cutting and attendees got to enjoy delicious food from Chicago’s own Portillo’s.
We would like to give a big shout out to the Douglas Park Staff for all of their help. We would also like to thank the Chicago Poetry Center for their partnership and collaboration with this project, the Chicago Park District for providing us with the space to allow families to enjoy Word Play Way, and thank you to the Steans Family Foundation for their continued support of our mission. Be sure to go check out the installation; it is located on the playground sidewalk near the corner of California and Ogden. To find more activities for Word Play Way please click here to be directed to our website. There are activities for all ages, so do not be afraid of being too young or too old to get involved! Thank you so much to everyone that came out and supported this amazing project, and continue to spread the word about Word Play Way!
Hello! My name is Cortlyn Kelly, and I am currently serving as the Public Art and Library Intern for the David L. Hoyt Education Foundation. Outside of my internships, I am a student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse studying psychology and art. After I graduate in December, I intend to apply to both the Peace Corps and graduate school programs.
I am exceptionally grateful to have these internships and to be spreading literacy around the city of Chicago. The opportunity to serve multiple roles for this foundation and help out in a variety of ways excites me, and I cannot wait to see the impact we have on these communities.
In addition to these internships this summer, I am a waitress, a painter, traveler, and avid baseball fan. Thanks so much for reading a little about me!
After four days of painting in Douglas Park, the installation of Word Play Way featuring Aniyah Orr-Howard's poem is finally complete! We would like to thank all of our volunteers and Douglas Park staff for their help with our project. We are very excited to be bringing more play-based literacy activities to the North Lawndale area.
There will be a free, family-friendly community event to dedicate World Play Way on Saturday, July 27th from 1pm-4pm at the Douglas Park playground. Click here for further event details.
If you have any questions about the project or would like to schedule an onsite visit to learn more, please reach out to us by emailing email@example.com.
Click here for a map of the park.
DLHEF is excited to be a part of the CLA's inaugural Volunteer Fair on June 22nd!!
Do you have a passion for literacy? Learn about long-term and one-off volunteer opportunities to help support one of the 140+ literacy member organizations within our network. More than 20 of our CLA members have signed up to table.
The first 50 guests will receive a free book courtesy of Open Books! Other highlights include raffle prizes and free refreshments.
Admission is free. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required. Please share with your personal and professional networks! RSVP: http://bit.ly/CLA-VF
Congratulations to our Douglas Park Poetry Contest Winner, Aniyah Orr Howard for her poem, "Douglas Park."
Our final two poems were printed and put up at the Douglas Park field house for community input, and Aniyah's poem was chosen for installation. Howard's work will be installed in the park later this year, and we'll have a launch event in the park, featuring the winning and shortlisted poets read. Congratulations to our winner, and huge thanks to all who submitted, our selection committee, and to community members who voted for the final poem!
by Aniyah Orr Howard
The sun kisses the ground
As shadows of footsteps race to the land of adventure
As young minds swing back and forth
With eyes on a higher destination
The sky has no limit
And young bodies hold the courage to sprout wings
Hope creates the imagination
And imagination births dreams
For the playground
Is the stomping ground of doubt
And the stage of opportunity and freedom
As young soles stand on rocks
That are mountains and declare their greatness.
About the Poet
Aniyah Orr-Howard Aniyah Orr Howard is a poet, public speaker, and community advocate born on the west side of Chicago. She took to poetry and music at a very young age and spoke for President Obama at the ages of 8 and 15. She is an active member of Westside Rising, an organization that collectively includes influential organizations on the west side of Chicago to rally for change. She also works to develop banking institution availability across the west and south sides of Chicago.
Congratulations to the three poets whose poems have made it to the final shortlist for the Douglas Park poetry mural and Word Play Way installation. The final shortlisted poets are Ariel Walton, avery r. young, and Jupiter Dandridge.
Congratulations to our four poets whose poems have made it to the final four shortlist for the Douglas Park poetry mural and Word Play Way installation.
The final four poets are (Left to Right, Top to Bottom): Aniyah Orr-Howard, avery r. young, Ariel Walton, Jupiter Dandridge.
We want to send out a giant thanks to every poet who submitted their work–we had more fantastic poems to choose from, all celebrating Douglas Park and North Lawndale, than we could fit.
Big thanks to our selection committee: Angela Sallis (Douglas Park Supervisor), Natasha Mijares (poet and previous Six Points Curator), Don Parker (Word Play Way Installation Manager), Claire Haasl (David Hoyt Foundation), and Elizabeth Metzger Sampson (Chicago Poetry Center). Big big thanks to the North Lawndale Community Voters!
Check out the shortlisted poets bios below. Stay tuned for final news and future launch events, featuring each of the shortlisted poets!
Aniyah Orr-Howard is a poet, public speaker, and community advocate born on the west side of Chicago. She took to poetry and music at a very young age and spoke for President Obama at the ages of 8 and 15. She is an active member of Westside Rising, an organization that collectively includes influential organizations on the west side of Chicago to rally change. She also works to develop banking institution availability across the west and south sides of Chicago.
Ariel Walton is a North Lawndale native, community advocate, journalist, and filmmaker. Walton is an independent journalist with in-depth features on North Lawndale published by Free Spirit Media. She is the CEO of 3 Daughters Productions (focused on local community narratives). Her film, Redd, debuts April 2019 and focuses on the effect of gun violence on children in her community, and issues of justice and trauma raised in the aftermath. She is a North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society board member working with other community experts to share the historical facts of the neighborhood.
avery r. young is an interdisciplinary artist and educator, 3Arts Awardee, and executive for The Floating Museum. His recent publications include The BreakBeat Poets, and Poetry Magazine. He is the featured vocalist on flautist Nicole Mitchell’s Mandorla Awakening (FPE Records) and is currently touring with her Black Earth Ensemble and his funk/soul band de deacon board. Young’s collection neckbone: visual verses (Northwestern University Press) and its soundtrack tubman(FPE Records) are available now.
Jupiter Dandridge is a Poetry & Fiction writer from the Westside of Chicago. He has recently graduated from the Chicago Highschool of the Arts. He enjoys dealing with surrealism in his work and opening up discussions on the subjects he writes about.
Want to have an awesome weekend activity while supporting your favorite educational nonprofit? Enjoy a legendary outing at a Chicago Bulls game with David L. Hoyt Foundation supporters, employees, family and friends!
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Share the excitement of Bulls basketball and the NBA’s leading entertainment experience as the team takes on the Pistons, Wizards, Jazz and Trail Blazers!
In November we began a 14-week program with a class of 4th and 5th Graders at Volta Elementary, a neighborhood school in Albany Park with a heavy immigrant population. We began slowly teaching the students how to play Giant Word Winder and Giant Math Winder. Both games are played in teams, so immediately the games are collaborative and require players to work together. As the program progressed, it became more and more apparent to these 4th and 5th graders that the team that worked together best was the winning team won nearly every game they played. They learned that in order to achieve success they would need to rely on each other for one another's strengths.
Our Giant Games program at Volta produced many more great outcomes. We learned from their teacher, Mrs. Lundergan, that after completing the program she has seen a significant improvement in her student's abilities to collaborate, noting that they take different roles within their cooperative learning groups because of having played the giant games. We also learned that 70 percent of Mrs. Lundergan's students feel that they feel more confident in their math skills because of playing Giant Math Winder, 83 percent feel more confident in their spelling and vocabulary skills because of Giant Word Winder, and 100 percent say they that playing the giant games has helped to improve relationships with their classmates.
We are pretty excited about these outcomes, and we look forward to starting our next program at Cameron Elementary with a 2nd Grade Youth Guidance group! Teamwork makes the dream work.
If you are interested in programming like this for your school, contact us today!
On February 10th, we had our annual chili cookoff at Dovetail Brewery. With over ten chilis in the running, competition was fierce--so fierce we had a tie for first place between Carcamusa and Pitmaster's Pride! Third place went to the delicious Meat Sweats. Thank you so much to everyone for coming. It was a blast, and we hope to see you next year!