A dunk tank. Cotton Candy. Facepainting. A DJ.
It’s not Ribfest. It’s not the Taste.
It’s UCAN’s Kickback & Peacefest!
On June 27th, UCAN celebrated its inaugural Kickback & Peacefest at our Nichols Center in North Lawndale. Over 750 UCAN affiliated youth and families visited our seven-acre campus for food, music, face painting, games, raffles, basketball, video games, and resources.
The Peacefest started off as the annual Diermeier Future Leaders Now (DFLN) celebration for the program’s graduates.
“In my four previous years of planning the annual DFLN celebration for youth that graduated from the DFLN Institute or won Youth of the Month, I had staff requesting to invite youth from their respective programs to the celebration who had not been a DFLN Institute graduate,” says Mary Whiting, Kickback & Peacefest organizer and Associate Director of Youth Development at UCAN. “I thought it would be great to celebrate youth from all programs and when presented to executive leadership, they agreed.”
“While in the planning process, the Vice President of our Violence Intervention and Prevention Services program was planning his 2nd Annual Peace Fest 10 days earlier than the all-youth celebration,” Mary explains. “We both were having our event on our North Lawndale Campus. My focus was a youth celebration and his was bringing the North Lawndale community together for a peace fest. We talked and thought combining resources would be great, and so emerged the UCAN Kick Back & Peacefest.”
Though numerous UCAN employees lent their time to help the fest run smoothly, corporate sponsors also volunteered.
SomerCor brought 12 volunteers, stepping in wherever they could, be it serving food, making cotton candy, popcorn or snow cones, and even helping with the dunk tank and face painting. “We very much enjoyed volunteering at UCAN’s Kickback and Peacefest,” says Daniel Higgenbotham, a volunteer from SomerCor. “From the smiling faces of all the kids to the laughs shared between us and the UCAN staff, we couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding day. Excellent event.”
If you’re interested in volunteering at a UCAN event, contact Andrea Lee at Andrea.Lee@UCANChicago.org.
Take a look at the photos from the day below!
(Oh, and yeah, we dunked the CEO!)