In the summer of 2015, Yulia Borisova started creating outdoor play opportunities for children. She invited people to get together in a park to play the games she loved as a child—Red Rover and Kick the Can. Clearly she was fulfilling an unspoken need: in a few years, Evanston Games in the Park grew to over 800 members on Facebook. Yulia also started staging pop-up adventure playgrounds in and around Evanston.
As director and founder, Yulia is a trained play worker with a commitment to ongoing education. She attends play conferences and visits adventure playgrounds around the world.
She was joined in 2017 by Rick Kinnebrew, formerly with Evanston Public Library. As a playwright and storyteller, Rick has a lifelong interest in children’s imagination. He worked on the library team that created LEAP—a play-based early literacy program.
The tipping point came when Huong Nguyen joined Purple Line. An Evanston parent who brought her daughter to Yulia’s events, she recognized the value of free play. Huong founded The 88 Project, an advocacy group for democracy and free speech in Vietnam. She brought the expertise to form our new non-profit organization dedicated to child-directed play.
Cradle to Career sponsored Purple Line’s first big community project, a partnership with Ridgeville Park District, bringing a series of pop-up play events to an underused park in the 8th Ward.