PRESS RELEASES and News

Chicago Department of Public Health Celebrates PlayStreets Day, Encourages Kids to Get, Stay Active

City sets new record for most PlayStreets events held in one summer day

CHICAGO (July 24, 2014) – As part of the City of Chicago’s ongoing efforts to improve the health and well-being of Chicago’s youth, CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D. today joined community members in safe, supervised play to kick-off Chicago PlayStreets Day. Happening in neighborhoods throughout the City, PlayStreets are special events run throughout the summer by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) for children and their families to get active. Community organizations are hosting 13 events across the City, a new record, as part of this year’s inaugural PlayStreets Day. A full schedule can be found HERE.

“We have already seen hundreds of children and their families come out for PlayStreets this summer,” said Commissioner Choucair, M.D. “Today alone, we expect to see thousands more playing outdoors and enjoying some healthy snacks. Events such as PlayStreets are empowering our residents to make smart, healthy choices and enhance the well-beings of themselves, their families and their communities.”

PlayStreets was designed to increase access for children to have safe places to play while promoting healthy activities with the aim of reducing childhood obesity. At a PlayStreets event, the streets are closed off to traffic for three or more hours and transformed into an urban oasis featuring sports, games, bounce houses, dancing, fitness classes and more.

Gads Hill Center, the Active Transportation Alliance, World Sport Chicago, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC) are coordinating this year’s events on behalf of CDPH to empower residents to make their communities havens for fun and fitness.

“PlayStreets is a fun and effective way to build healthy behaviors and stronger communities across Chicago,” said Gads Hill Center CEO Maricela Garcia. “When we close the streets for a few hours, thousands of kids and their families come out to play, dance, talk, and find resources and information to make healthier choices. We are all concerned about obesity rates among Chicago residents and PlayStreets is a great vehicle to engage people in fitness activities that are fun and accessible to all ages.”

“PlayStreets events are a great way to promote physical activity and get more people active in our public spaces,” said Ron Burke, Executive Director of Active Transportation Alliance. “As an organization that promotes walking and biking, we know the valuable opportunities our streets provide for physical activity. We’re excited to be partnering with World Sport Chicago, LISC Chicago and so many great community organizations to make PlayStreets events happen all summer.”

PlayStreets is a key component of Healthy Chicago, the citywide public health initiative first launched by Mayor Emanuel and CDPH in 2011. Healthy Chicago outlines more than 200 strategies dedicated to transforming the health of Chicago. PlayStreets is one strategy specific to helping youth get and stay healthy in their schools, neighborhoods and homes. Other strategies include guaranteed recess at schools, improved physical activity guidelines at child care centers and increased access to healthy food options for families across Chicago.

More information on Healthy Chicago can be found at www.CityofChicago.org/Health. PlayStreets events will continue across the City until October. A full schedule of events can be found HERE.

PlayStreets community partners organizing events throughout the rest of the summer and into fall:

• Asian Human Services
• Beyond the Ball
• Breakthrough Urban Ministries
• Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
• Carole Robertson Center for Learning
• La Casa Norte
• Catholic Charities
• Centro Romero
• Chicago Youth Center
• Chinese Mutual Aid Association
• Chicago LAMP
• Christopher House
• Claretian Associates
• The Community Builders
• Family Focus
• Garfield Park Community Council
• Howard Area Community Center
• Illinois Youth Rugby Association
• Indo-American Center
• KLEO Family Life Community Center
• Local Motions
• Mary Crane
• New Life Center
• Onward Neighborhood House
• Primo Center for Women and Children
• Project Education Plus
• Puerto Rican Arts Alliance
• Puerto Rican Cultural Center
• Roseland Little League
• South Shore Chamber
• Southwest Organizing Project
• TCEP, Universidad Popular
• West Humboldt Park Development Council
• Woodlawn Public Safety Alliance

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