The Kindness Connection works with local charities to define service projects that meet their needs. We then design the projects, procure the required materials, and organize schools, groups and/or individuals to complete the projects.
Some might view an empty city lot overrun with broken bottles, weeds, and loiterers as an eyesore to be avoided. Karen Trout and Laura Michel saw it as an opportunity for action. Thanks to these women, three empty lots—located on the corner of Avers Avenue and Cermak Road in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood—became the Avers Community Garden, a project that won first prize in Placemaking Chicago's 2012 Space in Between contest.
In addition to flourishing gardens where residents grow their own produce, the space hosts educational after-school and summer programs for neighborhood children. These kids help maintain the garden by picking up trash, watering plants, and pulling weeds—but they also have plenty of time to play, thanks to a gravel bike track and, in the future, safe playground equipment.
Matt Feeney and Joel Berman share a disability and a dream. Feeney broke his neck diving off a 100-foot cliff and Berman lost his ability to walk after a runaway flatcar hit him while he was laying rail tracks. Together they founded Adaptive Adventures to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through participation in sports and recreation. The organization runs progressive outdoor sports programs year-round for children, adults, and service members who have been severely injured in conflicts abroad. They cater to people with a wide range of disabilities, including spinal-cord injuries, amputations, and cerebral palsy. Activities such as kayaking, cycling, or water skiing help build confidence, social skills, and healthy lifestyles in participants who could not otherwise afford equipment, training, and travel for recreational sports.
Dedicated to advancing the economic, professional, and cultural well-being of the northern suburb, Lincolnwood Chamber of Commerce & Industry fosters a sense of community and civic pride through a host of activities and programs. The annual home and garden show—replete with booths of goods and services set up by area businesses—provides guests with the resources and tools needed to landscape yards or renovate aging blanket forts, while the Lincolnwood Wine Expo includes tastings and seminars centered around all things wine related.
The organizers of Double Denim Bar Crawl have two goals: raise awareness of autism and have fun doing it. Their yearly bar crawls through historic Wrigleyville, which take place during Austism Awareness Month, gather revelers suited up from head to toe in denim jeans, jackets, and shirts to let loose amid raffles, dance-offs, and debates on the cultural degradation caused by khaki. Contests including kiddie-cocktail races and a rock-paper-scissors tournament complement prizes for best and worst double denim, denim princess, and being a HugeParty. Celebrants can feel good about every sudsy libation they imbibe, too, since profits of the crawl go to Young Professional Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to funding autism research, spreading awareness, and advocating for the individuals and families affected by autism.