EVA challenge: Support Chicago's branch libraries

By Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo and Catherine Garypie

How do local libraries offer so much free programming? The East Village Association wanted to expand its support for the West Town Branch library, 1625 W. Chicago Ave. Our research discovered a very important community partner, the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

It's a not-for-profit fundraising partner to the Chicago Public Library. The foundation develops partnerships throughout Chicago and beyond. Its efforts support the library’s programs, technology and collections.

Through generous private donations, the foundation connects library users to their community and the world, ensuring all Chicagoans have the freedom to read, learn and discover.

One Book, One Chicago, the Summer Learning Challenge and the Teacher in the Library program are 100 percent funded by donors to the library foundation. The library’s efforts to nurture learning, support economic advancement and strengthen communities are at the heart of the Chicago Public Library Foundation's mission.

EVA’s first library fundraiser will fund future programming at the West Town Branch library. “Literary Charades Game Night” is scheduled for Sept. 25 from 6 to 9pm at Roots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave. Teams of four will "act out" book titles without speaking, while other members of their team try to guess the book title. The objective is for teams to guess the titles as quickly as possible.

Visit city chickens!

This is the 5th year of the Windy City Coop Tour, a free, self-guided event featuring 29 coops in the backyards of Chicago and some suburban locales. The tour runs this Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21, but on Saturday only, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can visit chickens in our own ‘hood, at the Farmessori at 1110 N Wood Street.  

The Farmessori flock just added three new members: a Buff Orpington, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, and an Exchequer Leghorn; in addition to the fabulous Polish Crested hens. If you’re not a chicken enthusiast, and haven’t visited the Farmessori, it’s worth the trip to see the garden. Farmer Joe Phillips and students and families from the Near North Montessori School will be on hand to welcome you.

The Tour Map and details about all 29 Host sites are on the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts’ website (www.chicagochickens.org) and its Windy City Coop Tour page.  It’s an opportunity to see more than fowl: First-time Host Eric Staswick’s urban farm/yard in Albany Park is home to chickens, ducks, dairy goats, and assorted vegetables and fruits. He says, “We keep chickens because we believe it’s important to understand the food cycle and where our food comes from. We want our kids to understand that food is grown, not manufactured.”

Angelic Organics Learning Center and the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts organize the Tour so visitors can browse and learn from practical examples. According to Anika Byrley, whose family keeps chickens in Logan Square, “We love the Tour and look forward to hosting because we enjoy sharing with others how enjoyable, easy, and rewarding keeping backyard chickens can be.” Matt Binns and Margaret Frisbie in the Hermosa neighborhood. “We originally got our chickens because we thought it was good for the planet and a kinder way to get eggs. We found that not only are the eggs wonderful and wholesome, but the chickens are hilarious and fun, and not much effort at all.”

I can attest to that! Visiting the chickens never fails to put a smile on my face. The Farmessori chickens are cared for by a crew of volunteers, of which I am one. It's a great example of the "it takes a village" concept. Check it out!  

Quotes from the press release published on the web as 2014 Windy City Coop Tour PR.

Eckhart Park Walk for Fun

Friends of Eckhart Park plans its annual neighborhood Walk for Fun at 10am Sept. 20 in the park at 1330 W. Chicago Ave. Organizers are celebrating the park's new playground renovation and raising funds for an improved fitness center.

The walk will leave Eckhart Park at 10 and is stroller- and pet-friendly. Kids 12 years and younger can participate in the walk and a 100-yard dash afterward. Register your child on the day of the race for $5. Kids are encouraged to bring bikes and scooters.

Registration ($50 family, $30 adult, $5 kids) will include a T-shirt and coupons to local businesses. Family Registration includes two adults and their kids. Dash registration includes a medal, and fun.