HeART this Windy City

Over 50 Volunteers, a Butterfly Garden + One Amazing Mural

by Stacy Stone

This Saturday Chicago showed us what it means to HeART This City! Over 50 volunteers gathered at Our Lady of Tepeyac School to spruce up the playground and finish an amazing mural by street artist Nina Palomba. We teamed up with local SCA leaders and staff and spent the morning with volunteers painting, mulching, and planting a butterfly garden in the school’s playground. The afternoon became an all-out mulch and soil extravaganza, with volunteers racing at an incredible speeds to unload three truckloads of mulch and one truckload of soil.

The community really showed up for the event, and it was obvious this was a group that really cared about their neighborhood. Inspired by the spirit of the community, volunteers worked at an unbelievable pace to accomplish the day’s projects and transform the space. Every single volunteer was sporting the now iconic HeART This City t-shirt, which was really a sight to see - what a fashionable bunch! It was so exciting to see volunteers of all ages spend their Saturday working with SCA and American Eagle to improve neighborhood access to outdoor experiences.

Talking with one of the local volunteers we found out some interesting information about the mural. When it comes to baseball, Chicago is a city divided between the Cubs and the White Sox. The original mural design included a baseball cap featuring the Cubs logo. When the students of Our Lady of Tepeyac found this out they protested the logo in favor of their own favorite team. If you happen to walk by the school you may now notice a baseball cap that reads “Sox”. Not only did the mural end up better representing the pride and passion of the community, but it let the neighborhood’s youth know that if you work hard for change, you can achieve it.

We had such a great time and accomplished so much on Saturday, we even picked up a few last second volunteers from random passersby who stopped to ask “What’s going on here? How can I help?”. We ended our day in Chicago feeling lucky to have experienced such a strong sense of community service and hard work, plus thankful to SCA and American Eagle for giving us the tools to lead such a spectacular project for a very deserving school. Thank you to everyone that worked to make this project happen, whether coordinating from afar, or pushing wheelbarrows of mulch around the playground, or simply shouting kind words from the street. To the city of Chicago: We really do HeART This City!

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