Families in Waukegan say goodbye to summer at free community event
Nearly 400 people attended a family-friendly event organized by Heart of the City last Sunday afternoon at Hinkston park in Waukegan.
The cookout was made possible through the generous support of community partners such as Thrivent Financial, Soccer Paradise of Round Lake Beach, Chiro One Wellness Centers, and GoGo squeeZ.
Volunteers from Joy! Lutheran Church of Gurnee were on-site helping to serve food, drinks, and carrying out activities like face painting, sidewalk art, and soccer. Music for the festivities, which lasted from 12 to 3 pm, was provided by DJ Sonic.
Other partners, such as the Waukegan Public Library and First Midwest Bank, were at the event connecting with families too.
"We're excited for this opportunity to introduce our families to organizations that can help them build a strong foundation for their children's future success," shared Brandon Massey, HOTC's Chief Operating Officer.
Heart of the City is a nonprofit organization started in 2014 to address the need for affordable soccer experiences for families in Lake County. Since its inception, the organization has grown to over 600 players, who are inspired to become competitive on the field, successful in the classroom, and productive in the community.
One of the highlights of the event was the announcement of the outcomes from a recent Penny Drive to benefit the organization's annual fund. Teams from Heart of the City's Recreation League collected change the three weeks prior to raise a grand total of $934.50.
The entirety of this donation will be matched by the Julian Grace Foundation of Highland Park, which has extended a matching grant to Heart of the City for up to $15,000 this year.
"Heart of the City is volunteer-driven, so we wanted this event to be a thank you to our coaches and parents for all they do in support of the teams throughout the year," shared Adrienne Wright, Director of Development of Heart of the City.
Wright added, "The event ended up being so much more than that though. As one coach shared with us afterwards, it unified the community and helped us all feel a little more like family."
About the Heart of the City
Heart of the City believes soccer is a powerful pathway to youth development that all young people should have access to so they can be inspired to become competitive on the field, successful in the classroom, and productive in their community. Young people who participate in HOTC programs grow through moments of success and failure, developing Determination, Dedication, Desire, and Discipline. For more information, visit Heartofthecitysports.org.