SOUTH SHORE — Residents of South Lakefront will make good use of the inches of fresh snow from this week’s winter storm with a “Snow Party” Saturday, their latest event to woo neighbors to the community’s underused parks.
The Activate South Coast Project is hosting a snowman-making contest with hot cocoa, s’mores and snow angels Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Hasan Park, 6855 S. Oglesby Ave.
Entrants can compete in multiple categories: Most “Creative” Snowman, Best Traditional Snowman, Best Snow Furniture or House, and Smallest and Largest Snowmen.
Winners will receive $25-$50, while other prizes include gift cards, game cards, tote bags and a book bag, and t-shirts from the event’s co-sponsor Fall Babylon.
The Snow Party reflects the project’s mission to “help us be neighbors again…especially when it comes to loving our children in a community setting,” said organizer Krystal Amevor. “It’s important to see many different types of organizations gathering around children to activate communities.”
Amevor co-founded Activate South Coast with Linda Young, a South Shore roommate and community organizer, last summer. The program aims to bring “a new energy” to public spaces from the South Shore to Hegewisch and beyond.
“We need to be able to use our spaces and express our community identity freely,” Amevor said ahead of the program’s first event, a day of public arts and community service at Hasan Park in June.
Since then, Activate South Coast has helped organize several events, including a literacy-themed festival on June 16 at 79th Street, a Stewardship Day at the South Shore Nature Sanctuary in October, a community cleanup around Caldwell Elementary in Avalon Park, and a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march, said Amevor.
The project will continue to organize events that focus on creativity and get kids outside, Amevor said. Bessemer, Steelworkers and Schafer Parks and the South Shore Nature Sanctuary are among the places where she will focus on developing programs this year.
As the project wraps up its first year, it has also gained two sponsors in Fall Babylon – founded by Hillary Bright of Calumet Heights – and Carla Felton’s South Shore company, Desk Calendar for Cadence, which will handle administrative responsibilities.
Activate South Coast’s creative and outdoor programs are a necessary complement to the education children receive in their schools, Bright said. Bright, Felton, and Amevor are all black governesses.
“There needs to be a broader and more holistic approach to education and youth engagement,” Bright said. “I feel like what we’re doing is one of many ways to address that.”
Felton said the creativity and happiness she saw among attendees at the launch event in June was “therapeutic” and could encourage Southeast Side children and adults to get out and see their neighborhoods.
“It just reminded me of growing up as a kid — we were always outside, we were always having fun, we were always doing things,” Felton said. “Maybe we have to show and teach our children what it’s like. They deserve it and they should have it.”
In addition to running community events, Activate South Coast was formed to rebuild Hasan Park’s defunct Park Advisory Board. That effort is still ongoing, said Amevor, who has served as interim president during the revival effort.
“We’re still in the process of forming the PAC, and we haven’t had a formal election yet,” Amevor said. “If we get social commitment [at events like the snow party]people are going to see some of the great things happening at Hasan and want to get involved.”
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