Good News Sunday: Summer program brings early learning opportunities to Elgin-area families

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories recently published by the Daily Herald:

A summer program that brings learning opportunities to underserved families with young children in the Elgin area is back for its eighth year.

The Elgin Partnership for Early Learning's Learning On the Go is a seven-week program that meets weekly at five neighborhood parks and schools — three in Elgin and one each in Hanover Park and Streamwood. The goal is to provide family engagement and early learning opportunities for kids up to age 5.

“We make learning fun and engaging for the kids,” said Amber Peters, EPEL executive director. “This is also an opportunity for us to model how parents interact with their children, to influence them to make positive interactions, because we all know that’s what’s best for young children.”

A total of 2,315 kids and family members visited program sites last summer. The locations are picked each year based on community data about families who might not be accessing resources like child care, health care and the library.

Sites and program times and days are available on the EPEL website at The program runs through July 25.

For the full story, click here.

Brookfield Zoo Chicago has welcomed koalas through a partnership with San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and San Diego Zoo’s Koala Education and Conservation Project. Courtesy of San Diego Zoo

Koalas make their debut at Brookfield Zoo Chicago

Brumby and Willum are the first koalas to take up residence at Brookfield Zoo Chicago, an institution turning 90 this July. The endearing tree-huggers are on loan from the San Diego Zoo for two years.

“We do have plans to reinvigorate or re-imagine our Australian area of the zoo in the future, and we are hoping that koalas could potentially be a mainstay for the zoo in the future,” said Mark Wanner, Brookfield’s associate vice president of animal care and conservation.

Both males and close in age, Brumby and Willum have been behind the scenes, getting used to their new surroundings, since they arrived on June 10.

“They are both settling in really well,” Wanner said.

Brumby and Willum were both born in San Diego about two years ago. Brookfield visitors will be able to see the koalas indoors or outdoors in the Hamill Family Play Zoo, near the south entrance of the campus.

For the full story, click here.

An adaptive climbing wall will be among the highlights at the Abilities Expo, which opened Friday and continues through today at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center. Courtesy of Abilities Expo

Check out Abilities Expo in Schaumburg today

The Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center hosts the Abilities Expo this weekend, a free event offering people with disabilities, their families, caregivers and others a chance to discover the latest products and information to serve their needs.

Attendees also will have the opportunity to scale an adaptive climbing wall through an experience led by Paralympian Mark Wellman, the first paraplegic to summit El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

“The Abilities Expo is more than just an event; it's a crucial asset to the disability community,” expo chairman Lew Shomer said in a news release. “Our mission is to boost independence by providing access to the latest innovations, adaptive activities and essential resources. Each year, we strive to create an inclusive environment where everyone can explore new possibilities, connect with others and celebrate this dynamic community.”

Admission and parking are free. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Complimentary loaner scooters, wheelchair repair and sign language interpreters will be available.

Online registration is encouraged at

The expo will feature an extensive range of cutting-edge products and services aimed at increasing accessibility. Attendees can explore everything from state-of-the-art mobility aids and adaptive vehicles, to devices that improve daily living.

For the full story, click here.

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