The 4th Annual Multicultural Cup was a huge success! Urban Initiatives Work to Play participants from Goethe Elementary in Logan Square, Lawndale Community Academy in North Lawndale, and Prieto Academy in Belmont Cragin came out to Haas Park in Logan Square for a day of soccer, cultural lessons, new food, and, most importantly, fun! For the fourth consecutive year, the Multicultural Cup took place at the amazing PTFF and Manchester City turf soccer field at Haas Park. Making it the perfect place to bring a blend of cultures together.
Thirty Urban Initiatives Junior Board members and five volunteers from Coca-Cola arrived before the players to help set up fields and cultural stations. It was an early morning, but thanks to some coffee from our friends at Starbucks, the transition from sleeping to playing was much easier. “It is fun to get to see the different schools come together from all different areas and instantly get along. The sportsmanship has been really good,” added JB member Brad Archibald on how important this day is.
Before long, players from the home team, Goethe Elementary, started arriving, and a few minutes later, the first yellow school bus pulled up. Kids started filing out one by one with huge smiles on their faces, and as the players ran out onto the field, the volunteers greeted them and started playing warm up games.
Once all three Work to Play schools arrived it was time for everyone to meet and create their new teams for the day. Small groups of eight players and two volunteers huddled together across the field, introducing themselves and coming up with creative team names. The Tie Dye Turtles, Red Leopards, and Flaming Hot Dragons even created group cheers!
After a quick warm up of Junk Food Tag (like “Sharks and Minnows,” but with junk food and healthy food), it was time to play soccer and hit the gym inside Haas Park for some multicultural stations.
While inside, players and coaches learned how to do Zumba, Yoga, and Brazilian Capoeira. All that movement was a great warm-up for everyone’s muscles, and the mural station provided some great exercise for their creative muscles. Outside, teams passed, dribbled, and sprinted up and down their soccer fields, working together and showing off all they had learned during the first two weeks of practice.
As the final whistle blew, players and volunteers gathered on the soccer field for a special presentation. Jim Dower, Urban Initiatives’ Co-Founder and Executive Director, presented Haas Park Supervisor Joe Henry with the first ever “Supervise for Success Award.” “For years, Joe has opened up Haas Park to our players and their families, giving them a safe and fun place to play,” said Urban Initiatives’ Communications Director, Cris Martinez. “He’s been a huge supporter of our programming, and we couldn’t think of a better person to award at this year’s Multicultural Cup.”
Next up was one of the day’s highlights. After volunteering on the field all morning, Eris Crosswhite, Production Plant Manager at Coca-Cola’s Niles facility, (Coach Batman to the players on his team) and the other Coca-Cola volunteers presented Urban Initiatives with a check for $25,000 to help support and expand the Work to Play program.
Urban Initiatives would like to thank Joe Henry, Haas Park, and the Chicago Park District for hosting another great Multicultural Cup. Thanks to the #UIJB for volunteering and giving UI kids an experience they will never forget, and a huge thanks to Brad Archibald for being our Junior Board leader for the day.
Finally, a very special thank you goes out to Kathleen Strand, Eris Crosswhite, and the entire Coca-Cola team for joining us as coaches and for their amazing donation to Urban Initiatives. Urban Initiatives is thrilled to have Coca-Cola’s support, and we look forward to developing our partnership all year long.