WHEATON PARK DISTRICT PROVIDES RECREATION FOR MARIAN PARK CHILDREN
A vision of one Wheaton Teenager
---------------The Wheaton Park District has been working to develop a relationship with Marian Park in an attempt to provide recreation programs and services to many of Wheaton’s underserved residents. There are many barriers that prohibit these residents from coming to park district programs and facilities including transportation, financial hardships, language, etc. Staff members from the Recreation Department met with Marian Park Resident Service Coordinator, Penny Smith, and began offering a “Summer Fun Club” in June 2011. The program was held twice a week for children between the ages of 4-12 years old. . Penny recently stated, “We are so grateful for our newfound partnership with the Wheaton Park District and the positive adult role models the staff have been to our young residents. The Summer Fun Club was the highlight of the kid’s week. On the days the club met, the kids would wait in our courtyard for the Wheaton Park District staff to arrive.” The park district is currently providing the same type of service on Community Unit School District
200 School Days Off, with the next programs scheduled for Columbus Day, October 10, 2011, one day during Thanksgiving break and once each week during Christmas Break. A Holiday Party is also being planned over the two week Christmas Break.
The proposal for this partnership was suggested last summer by Alyssa Rovansek, Recreation Department Student Intern.Alyssa recently commented, “People over look those kids because they are less fortunate. That's not how I see them. I see them as smart, sweet, caring kids who let me into their lives and to be part of their community. For that I will be forever grateful. I believe that’s what life’s about, building relationships and treating other people the way that you want to be treated.”
Alyssa has decided to pursue a double major in Spanish and Intercultural Communications at DePaul University, with the intention of helping people become acclimated in their community when they are new to this country. Alyssa remains involved with the program and returns to Wheaton from DePaul for the School Days Off programs. As she stated, “I want to continue with the programs at Marian Park because those kids have come to rely on me and trust me. We have built a friendship.”
In addition to the recreation programs provided, on Saturday October 1st
, the Wheaton Park District secured 50 free unlimited ride wristbands for their Fall Carnival, which was held at the Wheaton Park District Community Center. First Student Bus Company provided complimentary charter bus service from Marian Park to the Community Center for the Fall Carnival and Giordono’s, located on Roosevelt Road in Glen Ellyn, provided free pizza for the kids.
Sheri Rovansek, Wheaton Park District employee, spoke with some of the kids on the ride to the carnival and found that only two could remember ever being at a carnival. One of the Mom's who chaperoned her two young teenage kids came up to Sheri, with tears in her eyes, and said “I will be forever grateful to the Wheaton Park District for giving me the opportunity to take my children (age 13 and 15) to the carnival.” The mother had not been to a carnival since she was very young and has never had the financial means to take her children to a carnival. She said, “I laughed harder than I have in years, and I will never forget this day!” After the event, Sheri stated, “I’m humbled to have been part of the day. I am the one who will be forever grateful to the Wheaton Park District for giving those kids "the best day they could have imagined."
For more information regarding Wheaton Park District programs visit www.wheatonparkdistrict.com
. For information regarding the Marian Park partnership, please contact Vicki Boras at 630-510-5118 or via e-mail at email@example.com
, or Penny Smith, Marian Park Resident Service Coordinator, at 630-665-7269.