Last week, the Middle School Social Justice Club continued its collaboration with the Peace House in Englewood. The Peace House, in their own words, is “a healing zone filled with accessible resources that build skills, foster connections and promote safe and thriving communities.” I Grow Chicago has been slowly transforming what was previously one of the most violent blocks in Englewood, making homes and vacant lots into community-led resources. The Peace House is part of an organization that creates a place of love and peace and helps people by providing different activities for young children, adults and seniors.
On Wednesday, April 18, Social Justice Club members traveled to Englewood to pick up children from the Peace House’s after-school program. The children, ages 5 through 13, spent the day engaging in fun team-building activities such as going to the Lincoln Park Zoo and participating in a group-led yoga exercise and other fun games and activities. One activity included working with a partner to design one’s own backpack, then the partner’s backpack, based on learning each other’s wants and needs.
At the end of the day, everyone had a better understanding of each other, discovered similarities and found ways to connect with each other. Having the opportunity to come together from two different sides of the city that usually don’t communicate very much was very insightful for everyone, and both sides took away a lot from it. They’re all just kids of the same age and enjoy doing the same things, but have grown up in such different places that those similarities are often buried. The Social Justice Club is still keeping in touch with the kids at the Peace House and the organization in general and hopes to schedule another fun get-together soon!