2018 Circle of Friendship Party Celebrates Friends, Fun, and Casual Joy


It was another successful afternoon at the Lyons Township High School Corral as kids from Chicago's West Side and the Western Springs suburbs came together over crafts, carnival games, and casual joy at the 2018 Western Springs-Off The Street Club Circle of Friendship Party. The event, celebrated on March 10th, aims at fostering friendship, understanding, and fun between kids of two different Chicago communities for a few hours of face painting, crafts, pizza, ice cream, and more. 

Started over 20 years ago by a group including SPM's very own Patti Winegar, and supported throughout the years by Bob Konold and all of SPM, the party serves as a chance for kids to mingle, play and have some fun. Kids are paired up with another of the same age to spend the afternoon together and enjoy the various activities with someone they normally wouldn't. While most kids make a new friend for a few hours, many have returned for several years and requested to be paired up with the same partner each time. 

Several SPMers joined this year's fun, with Bob Konold returning as emcee once again, and others hosting a card-making table among the endless amounts of arts and crafts. 

This year's celebration garnered a total of 210 kids, half from Western Springs and half from West Garfield Park. The afternoon ended with Associate Executive Director Arnett Morris reminding the group of the importance of "casual joy:" to provide every child with the opportunity to enjoy simple childhood moments despite the gangs, drugs, and violence that surround them. 

And judging by the number of smiles in the Corral, it's safe to say there was plenty of casual joy to go around for the day.

To learn more about Off The Street Club, or for information on getting involved, please reach out or visit https://offthestreetclub.com.