On Wednesday evening, Reavis Work to Play soccer players were invited to hang out with Urban Initiatives’ Junior Board Members for a special preseason Pizza Party. Board Member Neil Hirshman hosted the fun-filled event at the beautiful offices of Kirkland and Ellis LLP. Reavis players entered the new building amazed, their eyes brightly lit. They stepped foot into the party space and quickly found their seats to listen to Coach Tom share the action-packed agenda for the evening. Once the Junior Board Members rolled through the door, the fun was ready to begin!
Carrots, broccoli, grapes and apples were all piled high on the Reavis player’s plates. The sight of Urban Initiatives kids digging into fresh fruit and vegetables not only made Coach Berger and Coach Lugo happy but Urban Initiatives’ Junior Board Members were wowed to see young boys and girls actually enjoy healthy eating. Junior Board Member Kyle Lee stated, “I was very impressed with what the kids chose to eat. I think my table consumed 90% of the carrots and grapes. We had more pizza leftover than anything else available.”
As Reavis players and Junior Board Members sat together eating and asking questions to learn more about one another, volunteers were called on to share interesting facts they learned about their new friends. From where Junior Board Members went to college to Reavis players’ favorite subjects in school, everyone was excited to share what they had learned. A notable moment was our host Neil shared that when his new friend Amari was asked, "If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?" he replied, "Pluto!" Amari had plans to build an amusement park on Pluto some day, and Neil announced that when that day arrived, he was ready to travel to “Pluto World” with him!
Once dinner wrapped up, the good times continued as all the guests left their tables to compete in a lively Rock, Paper, Scissor challenge. Reavis players challenged Junior Board Members in riveting matches that crowned two champions. Then special guest Megan Bartlett from Up2Us got everyone moving with a great apple game that required everyone to utilize their teamwork and communication skills to come up with a strategy to get their apple from one side of the room to the other.
Junior Board Member Colin McCormack said, “It was great seeing the kids come to life while playing and interacting with the adults.” From the photos, it is clear that the adults were coming to life from playing with the kids too!
“Holy cannoli this is beautiful!” exclaimed one girl from Reavis as she stepped foot onto Kirkland’s balcony and saw the view. As the party came to a close, the kids and the Junior Board members stood side-by-side overlooking Chicago’s illuminated skyline and took group photos.
Reluctant to leave their new friends, the Reavis players gave many hugs and handshakes before loading back onto their school bus. The players were excited to spend time with such positive role models and hope to see their new friends again at the Interfaith Cup this spring!
Thank you to all who made this event possible. Special thanks to Jean Downs, the Conference Center Supervisor, for coordinating the event!