Team Chicago Unites Highland Park Community in Service

By Adam Conway on January 29, 2014 in AmeriCorps

AIDS United AmeriCorps Team Chicago ventured out of the city this MLK Day to participate in a massive day of service in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb. Presented by North Shore School District 112 and the Highland Park Human Relations Commission, the MLK Day of Service was the collective effort of nonprofit organizations across northern Chicagoland. Homeless services, animal shelters, financial literacy and education organizations—all types of service agencies gathered together to engage the Highland Park community in service.

Dozens of service organizations assembled at the Highland Park Recreation Center and set up tables providing assorted service opportunities. Local community members and area schools were invited to attend the day of service and participle in a series of mini-service activities with the various agencies. Team Chicago led the tables for the community’s food bank and North shore homeless shelters, working with Highland Park students and their parents to collect, sort, and ship donated food items and toiletry supplies for community residents in need.

Team Chicago sorted and bagged food for the local food bank

Team Chicago sorted and bagged food for the local food bank

It was our first service opportunity to work with entire families–with students and their parents–so the team really appreciated the opportunity to get multiple generations of volunteers involved. We also got maxed-out on manual labor with event set up and takedown; we’re definitely becoming physical labor professionals this year, but please give us a couple week break before you ask us to move anything again!

In addition to the day of service, the day boasted several speakers and activities to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The day opened with a performance of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and later included student music performances and speeches of community leaders, including Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

A breathtaking performance by the Jesse White Tumblers

A breathtaking performance by the Jesse White Tumblers

The clear highlight of the day was a breathtaking performance by the Jesse White Tumblers, who flipped, sprang, leaped, and wowed everyone with their astounding athleticism. But our team’s resident gymnast, Eric, assures us he’ll have us all in prime tumbling shape for next year’s MLK Day!

Team Chicago after a long day of service!

Team Chicago after a long day of service!

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