Learn how to become a foster parent at picnic

The Forest Preserves of Cook County and Impact Grants Chicago are hosting a free picnic for people of all ages to raise awareness of the foster care system and recruit potential foster care families.

The Foster Recruitment Picnic will take place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, on South Western Avenue and West 87th Street.

Foster care agencies - including Hephzibah, Kaleidoscope, Kids Above All, Lawrence Hall, Little City, Lutheran Social Services, and UCAN - will have tables set up outside the pavilion with presentations and testimonials to educate attendees about fostering youth and the resources available to foster care parents.

"The Forest Preserves of Cook County is part of the Chicagoland community. We want foster parents and foster youth to have an opportunity to discover the preserves as a place for fun and to let them know about our programs and events," Department of Conservation and Experiential Programming Program Coordinator Justin Mercer said in a news release.

"We want to continue connecting with potential foster parents, current foster parents, and professionals in the foster care field."

The recruitment picnic will offer games and activities, including making creative-reuse kites, archery, nature play, animal costumes, and free play. Attendees can win raffle prizes and enjoy free food while a disc jockey plays music.

This event was made possible by a grant given to Kaleidoscope by Impact Grants Chicago, an all-volunteer women's collective-giving organization with members all over the Chicago area.

All participants are required to wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Attendees can register at

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