Grant Powers Teen Nature Program at Play Garden

Published July 8, 2022

Neighborhood teen-agers are engaged in work with local nature thanks to a grant won by the McKinley Community Play Garden through the 12th Ward's micro-grant program.

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"The grants that were presented in the 12th Ward targeted health and wellness, and arts and culture," stated an announcement from 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas. "The selected organizations demonstrated a significant presence ... and a commitment to youth development, engagement, and programming."

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The grant funding originates from a one-time Chicago City Council-approved disbursement of $100,000 per ward to fund projects that enhance local communities. In the 12th Ward, the play garden received $35,000 to support its program.

"We are very excited to be able to engage with the older kids in the neighborhood," said an announcement for the play garden, which is located at 3518 S. Wolcott Ave., Chicago.

Teens Only

On Tuesday through Friday afternoons through August 5, 2022, local 13- to 17-year-olds will engage with the garden, its programs and activities: closing the garden during this time exclusively for teen use. Program participants went through an earlier application process to take part.

Additional 12th Ward grant recipients include the OPEN Center for the Arts in the Little Village neighborhood, Ballet Folklorico Oxchiti and the Mexican Folkloric Dance Company of Chicago, which has regularly performed at McKinley Park.

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Garden Growth

Alongside the teen program, the McKinley Community Play Garden announced new capital expenditure for a sorely needed portable power station for the garden, thanks to successful fund-raising through its Summer Kickoff BBQ. The garden also announced its new website, accessible via

Oversight for play garden grant administration will come through the 12th Ward, its office announced. "We are excited to see what will be accomplished throughout the year."

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