The Crusader Newspaper Group

Innovative free summer camp in Englewood

A vast lineup of Chicago organizations will offer a wide array of opportunities to Englewood youth this summer at I Grow Chicago’s Peace House. Now through August 11, 2016, 24 children between 5-12 and ten youth between ages 14-21 will participate in the Summer of Promise Program. The camp programming focuses on academic enrichment, leadership development, mindfulness, and exposure to arts and culture to empower youth with tools and ideas to reach their fullest potential.

Englewood is one of Chicago’s most under-served neighborhoods. Many of the youth who will attend the camp would otherwise stay home all day or on the street. The City of Chicago grants permission each summer for the nonprofit to close off the street four (4) days a week during summer camp hours to convert the street into a festival-like atmosphere. I Grow Chicago staff pitches tents on the street for a diverse spectrum of entertaining and educational activities.

“We look forward to giving kids something productive to do, so they can feel safe and secure close to home, among familiar faces. We create a peaceful community within our camp, with no teasing or bullying allowed. It’s important that everyone feels they belong,” says Stephany Price, Executive Director of the nonprofit.

DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS COME together to create and teach children in the I Grow Chicago summer camp. The time and resources used are free to the participants.
DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS COME together to create and teach children in the I Grow Chicago summer camp. The time and resources used are free to the participants.

Diverse organizations throughout Chicago are stepping up, offering free classes and services to the camp. The Old Town School of Folk Music, Victory Gardens Theater, Shambhala Center, local rapper K.W.O.E. and The Second City and Art Institute of Chicago will provide classes. Spikeball Inc. will teach their game and offer work training and part time employment opportunities to older youth. Local police officers from the 7th district will provide a physical challenge course and visit weekly to socialize with the group and children.

“Part of our mission is connecting communities. Englewood youth are often isolated from the rest of Chicago and its opportunities. We’re delighted that so many organizations are stepping up to meet the wonderful children and youth in our community, and to help expose Englewood youth to previously inaccessible art, culture, and mindfulness practices,” says Robbin Carroll, I Grow Chicago’s founder.

Swimming lessons will be offered twice a week. Grandmothers Circle the Earth Foundation will build a medicine wheel with the children on July 11 and 12th. Sat Nam Yoga Chicago will offer yoga twice weekly, for the third consecutive year. Calm Classroom is offering free training to I Grow Chicago’s staff in a research-based approach to teaching mindfulness techniques, so youth can be empowered with tools for personal stress reduction, focusing, and self awareness. Additionally, the summer program will offer weekly outdoor field trips on Thursdays and serve breakfast and lunch to all participants daily. Many meals will be donated by Catholic Charities.

I Grow Chicago has a community-driven approach to serving Englewood residents in a holistic manner, combining yoga and mindfulness workshops to help heal from trauma with pragmatic solutions. The nonprofit teaches job training and life skills, offers mentorship opportunities, and has a fully stocked pantry with personal hygiene products and household supplies available for anyone in need, as well as holding community dinners, restorative justice peace circles with the police and community members, and regular community events.

For more information about I Grow Chicago, visit,

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