Waukegan, IL

Local agencies use July to help kids thrive

Yadira Sanchez Olson

By Yadira Sanchez Olson

Volunteers and United Way of Lake County staff work to sort donated school supplies.United Way of Lake County

Two agencies working to provide Waukegan kids with materials they’ll need for school and with fun arts and crafts outdoors are taking advantage of the July days.

The Waukegan Park District’s Arts Park summer program kicks off July 7 with the Arts Park van making its first stop at King Park, 301 South Avenue.

The van will be making three more visits to different Waukegan parks each Wednesday in July from 10 to 11 a.m. and at ArtWauk on Saturday, July 17.

Arts Park schedule:

  • Wednesday, July 7 at King Park, 301 South Avenue
  • Wednesday, July 14 at Ben Diamond Park, 2413 Sunset Avenue
  • Wednesday, July 21 at Arbor Park, 1151 S Pleasant Hill Gate
  • Wednesday, July 28 at Country Lane Park, 3353 Country Lane

Through the park district’s partnership with the Audubon Society of Lake County’s Sharing Our Shore initiative, the van offers kids different art activities with the main project a piping plover bird made out of clay.

Sharing Our Shores – Waukegan donated the molding clay and tiles used for the project.

Other activities offered by the Arts Park van include painting on large easels and making bracelets out of beads, said Ty Rohrer, manager of cultural arts.

Children make crafts during an Arts Park van visit.Waukegan Park District

"Children really enjoy the easels, big paint brushes, and getting the washable paint on themselves," Roher said. "We will have small crafts to do as well, such as making bracelets with beads. The Arts Park van is full of arts supplies and really, we just want participants to be as creative as they want in using them all."

This is the second year WPD partners with Sharing Our Shores – Waukegan. Along with the art projects is an edicational component. Kids will are taught a brief lesson on why the piping plover is such a fascinating bird.

The Arts Park program of the Waukegan Park District Cultural Arts is award-winning and has been recognized for excellence by the National Recreation and Parks Association.

Due to COVID-19, This summer series of the Arts Park program is only running in July.

Rohrer said event coordinators can request the van at their community events by contacting the park district.

Another agency looking out for kids is the United Way of Lake County.

This is the second year the organization hosts a school supply drive. The goal is to put all the materials kids in their hands before school classes start.

“We are partnering with WPS60 to fill 1,000 empty backpacks with school supplies,” said S. Bobbi Selvik, manager of community engagement.

“The beginning of a school year is always an incredible financial hurdle for many families. In light of the additional economic setback from COVID-19, the need to support our families and ensure our students have the tools they need is even greater,” Selvik said.

Waukegan Public Schools District 60 officials have provided United Way of Lake County with lists of materials for each grade.

Donation are requested.

Each $20 donation provides one student with a backpack full of supplies.

To make an online donation for the purchase of supplies, visit:https://www.liveunitedlakecounty.org/supply-drive-2021/

If donating school supplies, those items can be dropped off at People’s Choice, 2650 Belvidere Rd. in Waukegan any Thursday in July between noon and 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

United Way of Lake County is also seeking volunteers to pack and sort. Volunteer opportunities are available Thursdays between noon and 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. through July.

All volunteers must preregister.

Collected supplies will be distributed to WPS60 students on July 31 at the school district’s Back to School Resource Distribution Fair.

The school supply drive runs through July 15.

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Yadira Sanchez Olson is a bilingual (Spanish/English) reporter who has covered Lake County, IL news and its impact on communities for more than a decade. She’s generated a strong collection of sources that are used daily to provide timely and accurate news that’s relevant for readers. She loves to find the positive side in stories and share helpful information that can make life just a little easier and sweeter!

Round Lake, IL

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