Elks Park Program

The neighborhood around Elks Park has limited community infrastructure and resources: no libraries, community centers, churches, or mom-and-pop stores. There are few affordable or free programs for kids. Some neighbors remember that in 2014 a man was shot in the park, and the Tot Lot was regularly used by drug dealers. The park sits on the border of two school attendance areas, one of them with a mobility rate almost twice the district average. Families come and go.

When children don’t have friends down the street and don’t play with them in their local park, they don’t feel that they belong in the neighborhood or that their neighborhood belongs to them.

A successful pilot with partners

To improve the chances of kids making lasting connections, Purple Line planned 4 pop-up play events on consecutive Saturdays in the summer of 2019. The plan had funding from Evanston Cradle to Career, and support from Ridgeville Park District, the 8th Ward, and Oakton Elementary School.

Children came to play in the underused park. Neighbors met each other. In total we attracted 109 children and 43 adults.

Play connects not only children but also adults. At one event a grandma told us, “This is so wonderful because I just met another grandma and we exchanged numbers. Now we can meet here again!”

We created an Elks Park neighborhood group on Facebook and hope that it will grow.

Help us make a lasting change

We connected with some of the residents who enjoyed our program, and listened to their input. In 2020, we plan to increase the number of our Elks Park pop-ups from 4 to 12. For the children, this promises three play events every week for four weeks. Through child-directed play, they can play freely, in the ways that are relevant to them, gaining control over their lives.

When more children playing outside, the neighborhood becomes more attractive for families. Both adults and children develop a deeper sense of place. The neighborhood becomes part of them, and they in turn care for it and want to make it better.

We are seeking support from local funders for this ambitious expansion of last year’s pilot. Can you help?

Help us make lasting change

We connected with some of the residents who enjoyed our program, and listened to their input. In 2020, we plan to increase the number of our Elks Park pop-ups from 4 to 12. For the children, this promises three play events every week for four weeks. Through child-directed play, they can play freely, in the ways that are relevant to them, gaining control over their lives.

When more children playing outside, the neighborhood becomes more attractive for families. Both adults and children develop a deeper sense of place. The neighborhood becomes part of them, and they in turn care for it and want to make it better.

We are seeking support from local funders for this ambitious expansion of last year’s pilot. Can you help?

Site Map

Contact Us

There are many ways to support our projects. Consider making a donation today.

Join Our Mailing List