WBEZ | children http://www.wbez.org/tags/children Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en StoryCorps: Veteran encourages his kids to be proud of the United States http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-veteran-encourages-his-kids-be-proud-united-states-110484 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Capture_13.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Sam Guard graduated from high school on D-Day, when General Dwight D. Eisenhower launched troops onto the beaches of Normandy. Within two weeks of graduation, he turned himself in to an army post and began his military service. He was sent to the Pacific, earning his first battle star in the Philippines.<br /><br />When Sam visited the Chicago StoryCorps booth with his neighbor and friend Ruth Knack, he described his time in the military as being like a marriage. &ldquo;You think to yourself. &lsquo;This is it. Let&rsquo;s make the best of it.&rsquo; It is a continuous challenge and you need to rise to the occasion.&rdquo;<br /><br />He used the GI bill to go to college, but was soon recalled for the Korean conflict. He earned four more battle stars by being in 270 days of continuous combat. He recalls sleeping in a hole in the ground, without changing his clothes or washing himself. &ldquo;Our sink was our steel helmet turned upside down,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />In the trenches, he was reminded of something his mother would say when he was a kid. &ldquo;No son of mine will ever serve in a war,&rdquo; she would tell her friends. Her husband had served in the military and she believed that it was supposed to be the &ldquo;war to end all wars.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;<br />Sam remembers a time in the 1970s when his kids came home from school in tears.<br /><br />&ldquo;What&rsquo;s the matter?&rdquo; he asked. They said they were ashamed.<br /><br />&ldquo;Ashamed of what?&rdquo; he asked. Ashamed to be Americans, they responded.<br /><br />Kids at school were reacting to news of the Watergate scandal. &quot;And I thought about this,&quot; Sam said. &quot;I spent four years and two wars fighting for my country and my children are ashamed to be Americans?&quot;<br /><br />But Sam felt that the Watergate scandal was a net positive because the country corrected itself, without a revolution. &ldquo;What seems like a great defeat is possibly the highest moment,&rdquo; Sam said. &ldquo;Our greatest insight into the ultimate truth. It&rsquo;s that taking apart that may reveal its true nature.&rdquo;</p><p>He looked into his children&rsquo;s tiny faces and told them &ldquo;that they are witnessing not the disgrace of America but the triumph of our system that works.&rdquo;</p><p>And so, throughout his life there has always been a mixture of pride in his military service and shame in having to explain things to his family.<br /><br />&ldquo;We call them heroes? But what the hell is heroic about dropping bombs on people?&rdquo; To soldiers today he would say: I have some understanding of the price they paid and I wish them well. It is appreciated.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-veteran-encourages-his-kids-be-proud-united-states-110484 Husband and wife battle Alzheimer's together http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/husband-and-wife-battle-alzheimers-together-110260 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Capture_10.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Ben Ferguson, 66, and his wife of more than four decades, Robyn, 64, grew up in Texas. It&rsquo;s where they met and fell in love. About a year ago, Ben was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer&rsquo;s disease. And so the couple moved to Chicago to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren. They recently came to the StoryCorps booth in the Chicago Cultural Center to relive Ben&rsquo;s earliest memories, and to describe what the disease has meant for their family.</p><p>Alzheimer&rsquo;s disease, which negatively impacts the brain&rsquo;s ability to remember things, may affect more than five million Americans, according to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet" target="_blank">National Institute on Aging.</a> That number is growing, however, and could reach as many as 16 million by the year 2050, according to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.alz.org/documents/greaterillinois/statesheet_illinois(1).pdf" target="_blank">Alzheimer&rsquo;s Association of Greater Illinois.</a></p><p>&ldquo;These memories are going to fade,&rdquo; Robyn said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve already begun to,&rdquo; Ben said.</p><p>In the booth, the couple talked about how Ben got into all kinds of trouble in elementary and high school. He once wrecked two of the family cars in one day. He was kicked out of several universities, before finding his footing and eventually earning a PhD in Psychology.</p><p>&ldquo;There have always been two sides to you,&rdquo; Robyn said. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re a bad boy. But you&rsquo;re a good boy too. I liked the bad boy first and now I like the good boy better.&rdquo; &ldquo;Yeah, but the bad boy got you,&rdquo; Ben said, laughing.</p><p>When Ben met Robyn, he said it was love at first sight. She thinks the attraction might have been more physical at first. &ldquo;I was pretty sure I wasn&rsquo;t gonna be able to run over you,&rdquo; Ben said. &ldquo;I was definitely sure that you were one of the prettiest women I have ever seen and I had tender feelings toward you.&rdquo; They married two months after meeting. They had two kids, one of whom moved to Chicago.</p><p>Then about a year ago, Ben started showing signs of Alzheimer&rsquo;s. &ldquo;It was the worst thing that&rsquo;s ever happened to me,&rdquo; Ben said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m still trying to figure out how to deal with it.&rdquo;</p><p>Now, Ben and Robyn live in Chicago and enjoy spending time with their grandkids. Ben participates in some long-term research programs at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.brain.northwestern.edu/" target="_blank">Northwestern University&rsquo;s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer&rsquo;s Disease Center (CNADC)</a>. He also takes classes there to help build memory through improvisation and takes part in a buddy program.&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/morningshiftwbez/workshop-offers-new-form-of" target="_blank">He and Robyn are part of a storytelling group for Alzheimer&rsquo;s patients and their families.</a></p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll just keep working on things,&rdquo; Robyn said. &ldquo;I think we&rsquo;re doing really good,&rdquo; he added.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 30 May 2014 15:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/husband-and-wife-battle-alzheimers-together-110260 On playground equity, Park District comes up short http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/playground-equity-park-district-comes-short-108668 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/JaemeyBush1.JPG" style="height: 300px; width: 200px; margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; float: right;" title="Jaemey Bush and her girl play in Piotrowski Park, 4247 W. 31st St. The playground lost most of its swings in a 2010 renovation, a project that has Jaemey wondering what determines the location and quality of Chicago Park District playgrounds. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Jaemey Bush was excited when the bulldozers rumbled in to renovate the playground at Piotrowski Park, one of the few green spaces in Little Village, a densely populated Latino enclave of Chicago. The 2010 project replaced decaying wood chips with a poured-rubber surface accessible to wheelchairs. Crews tore out all the old play equipment and installed climbing ropes, slides, stepping stools and catwalks. Everything was brand new.</p><p>But something bothered Jaemey, a stay-at-home mom in the neighborhood. &ldquo;When they finally unveiled the playground, it was about a quarter the size of the old one,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Before the remodeling, we had 16 swings at least. Now there are just 6. Sometimes we have to wait in line for them.&rdquo;</p><p>Jaemey noticed bigger playgrounds in some wealthier neighborhoods. So she asked Curious City:</p><p><em>What factors determine the location and quality of Chicago Park District playgrounds?</em></p><p>As Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration tells it, the main factors are equity and community need. Park District officials, who report to a CEO and board of commissioners appointed by the mayor, point out that they manage 525 playgrounds &mdash; a big number even for a population the size of Chicago&rsquo;s.</p><p>They say more than 90 percent of Chicago children live within a half mile (10-minute walk) of at least one of these sites. They point to an Emanuel administration plan to renovate 300 of those playgrounds within five years. And they say they&rsquo;re doing their best to acquire land for new parks and playgrounds in the neighborhoods that need them the most.</p><p>To determine needs for amenities such as playgrounds, the Park District says it has beefed up its planning staff and embraced state-of-the-art data analysis. Gia Biagi, chief of staff for Park District CEO Michael Kelly, says those efforts include research projects with outside organizations including Northwestern University.</p><p>&ldquo;We said, &lsquo;Here&rsquo;s our data. Help comb through it. Are we hitting the markets that we want to hit? Are we serving people in the way that they want to be served?&rsquo; &rdquo; Biagi says. &ldquo;So we&rsquo;re doing a lot of the business-intelligence work that we see corporations do. We&rsquo;re trying to bring it to a Park District, which is pretty unusual.&rdquo;</p><p>Park District officials say they examine data at every level, from the entire city to block-by-block numbers. Biagi says her team considers population characteristics including race, ethnicity and income. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re good planners,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;So we look at everything and we look to serve communities that need us the most.&rdquo;</p><p>But looking isn&rsquo;t the same as doing. Sparked by Jaemey&rsquo;s question, a Curious City investigation shows that not all kids have easy access to quality playgrounds. Worst off are children of color.</p><p><strong>Kids but no monkey bars</strong></p><p>Chicago has playgrounds in its poorest neighborhoods, as we confirmed by mapping the city&rsquo;s playground locations with its 809 census tracts and then shading those tracts according to their child poverty (see Map 1).</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/PARKS/Poverty.html" width="620"></iframe></p><p><strong>Map 1: Playground locations and child poverty (<a href="#DataNotes">notes</a>)</strong></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-bb86-e204-f47c067a5664"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">% of kids in poverty</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-bb86-e204-f47c067a5664"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(244, 204, 204); background-color: rgb(234, 209, 220); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;0.0&ndash;4.9</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-bb86-e204-f47c067a5664"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(234, 153, 153); background-color: rgb(213, 166, 189); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;5.0&ndash;19.9</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-bb86-e204-f47c067a5664"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(224, 102, 102); background-color: rgb(194, 123, 160); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;20.0&ndash;39.0</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-bb86-e204-f47c067a5664"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(204, 0, 0); background-color: rgb(166, 77, 121); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;40.0&ndash;59.9</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-bb86-e204-f47c067a5664"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(153, 0, 0); background-color: rgb(116, 27, 71); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;60.0&ndash;100</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-bb86-e204-f47c067a5664"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 255); background-color: rgb(0, 0, 255); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;No children</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-bb86-e204-f47c067a5664"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Playground surface</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-bb86-e204-f47c067a5664"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(108, 125, 210); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">●</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> Wood Chips</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-bb86-e204-f47c067a5664"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(138, 240, 138); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">●</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> Rubber </span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><hr /><p dir="ltr">But our investigation went further. With help from demographer Rob Paral, we analyzed the playground locations in relation to the latest racial and ethnic data for each of the city&rsquo;s 46,000 census blocks.</p><p dir="ltr">We found something interesting. Chicago&rsquo;s Latino children are almost 35 percent more likely than the city&rsquo;s white kids to live more than a half mile from a Park District playground (see Chart 1). More than 23,000 Latino kids live at least 10 minutes, on foot, from the nearest playground.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/oimg?key=0AluraWM750W7dHppQlVGTmhMTFlEVGljWTY0dk1kNmc&amp;oid=11&amp;zx=finl7t3gdy3c" style="width: 600px; height: 371px;" /></p><p>Jaemey&rsquo;s neighborhood, Little Village, is not alone among Latino areas with a dearth of Park District playgrounds. A map that shows the playground locations and the census tracts, shaded this time by child density (see Map 2), reveals a shortage in Brighton Park, Gage Park and Chicago Lawn &mdash; a Southwest Side swath with lots of children, most with Mexican heritage.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/PARKS/Kids.html" width="620"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><strong>Map 2: Playground locations and child density (<a href="#DataNotes">notes</a>)</strong></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-eb77-62a0-b8c3aadc3ee2"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Child population</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-eb77-62a0-b8c3aadc3ee2"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(255, 229, 153); background-color: rgb(255, 229, 153); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;0&ndash;299</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-eb77-62a0-b8c3aadc3ee2"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(255, 217, 102); background-color: rgb(255, 217, 102); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;300&ndash;599</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-eb77-62a0-b8c3aadc3ee2"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(241, 194, 50); background-color: rgb(241, 194, 50); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;600&ndash;999</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-eb77-62a0-b8c3aadc3ee2"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(191, 144, 0); background-color: rgb(191, 144, 0); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;1,000&ndash;1,499</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-eb77-62a0-b8c3aadc3ee2"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(127, 96, 0); background-color: rgb(127, 96, 0); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;1,500 or more</span></span></p><br /><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-eb77-62a0-b8c3aadc3ee2"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Playground surface</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1427-eb77-62a0-b8c3aadc3ee2"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(108, 125, 210); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">●</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> Wood Chips</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(138, 240, 138); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">●</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> Rubber</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><hr /><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It makes me really sad that these kids don&rsquo;t have a chance to play on a playground,&rdquo; Jaemey says. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s such an important part of being a kid and growing up and being healthy. We also have a lot of gang violence and kids getting into trouble. I feel like more playgrounds could contribute to solving some of those problems.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Park District, presented with our data and findings, sent a statement that describes the city&rsquo;s playgrounds as &ldquo;well distributed in existing parks.&rdquo; Officials say they&rsquo;re also planning a new playground site in a 20-acre former industrial area between Little Village and the Cook County Jail.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We take seriously issues of equity and constantly examine the distribution of, and demand for, all of our resources, whether camps and programs or events and arts or natural resources and capital projects,&rdquo; the Park District statement says. &ldquo;As it should be in any major city and within any park system worth its salt, our work on equity, proximity, and improving the quality of life for all Chicagoans is deliberative and evolving.&rdquo;</p><p>A complication for many of Chicago&rsquo;s Latino neighborhoods is their relative lack of open space. They tend to be densely populated, so it&rsquo;s more expensive to clear space for a playground. Biagi, the Park District chief of staff, says Brighton Park just doesn&rsquo;t have many vacant lots.</p><p>The Park District also avoids putting parks on less than two acres because, Biagi says, the small scale would make them more expensive for maintenance crews to keep up.</p><p><strong>Not all jungle gyms are equal</strong></p><p>Turning to playground quality &mdash; the other part of Jaemey&rsquo;s question &mdash; we found a lot of evidence that Chicago&rsquo;s children of color are not getting their share.</p><p>First we looked at playground surfaces &mdash; the ground material that provides a cushion when kids fall from the equipment. The surface of almost every Park District playground once consisted of wood chips.</p><p>In 2000, however, the Park District started replacing wood chips with poured rubber, a smoother surface that is easier for disabled kids to navigate. Rubber can also be safer because, unlike wood chips, it doesn&rsquo;t require refilling or raking. And a rubber surface signals that the Park District has recently replaced the playground&rsquo;s equipment.</p><p>A big downside to playgrounds with the poured-rubber surfaces, officials say, is that they cost roughly five times more than wood-chip playgrounds with similar play equipment.</p><p>A Curious City spatial analysis using the census data shows that 53 percent of the city&rsquo;s 421,000&nbsp;Latino, African American and Asian kids live within a half mile of a rubber-surfaced Park District playground (see Chart 2). White children have a 24 percent greater likelihood than those kids of color to live within that distance of a rubber-surfaced playground.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/oimg?key=0AluraWM750W7dHppQlVGTmhMTFlEVGljWTY0dk1kNmc&amp;oid=10&amp;zx=yfcjv5ithid" style="width: 600px; height: 371px; margin: 5px;" /></p><p>Another measure of a playground&rsquo;s quality is its safety.</p><p>&ldquo;Kids are hurt on playgrounds by falling, but the way kids actually die on playgrounds is, somehow, a child is strangled or their airway gets blocked,&rdquo; says Amy Hill, who coordinates an injury-prevention center for the Ann &amp; Robert H. Lurie Children&rsquo;s Hospital of Chicago. &ldquo;Clothing gets entangled onto a bolt or something protruding somewhere, and the other way that their airway gets blocked is something called a head entrapment, which is any space that&rsquo;s bound on all four sides that&rsquo;s larger than 3&frac12; inches and less than 9 inches. And so we test all the openings for head entrapments.&rdquo;</p><p>Hill&rsquo;s center conducts a 21-point inspection of Park District playgrounds to find hazards ranging from those entrapment spaces to peeling paint and missing guardrails. Based on the inspections, the center assigns each playground a safety score. The latest inspection round, held last year, covered about 490 playgrounds. Of those, the 40 with the lowest safety scores were all south of Roosevelt Road (see Map 3).<a name="Map3"></a></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/PARKS/LowScoring.html" width="620"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><strong>Map 3: This year&rsquo;s playground renovations (<a href="#DataNotes">notes</a>)</strong></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-728d4f5c-1429-fc5a-732c-6f227eed17f1"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(138, 240, 138); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">●</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> Renovated after receiving one of the lowest 40 safety scores.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(108, 125, 210); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">● </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Renovated after </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">not</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> receiving one of the lowest 40 safety scores.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(210, 40, 57); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">●</span><span style="font-size: 19px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(108, 125, 210); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Not </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">renovated after receiving one of the lowest 40 safety scores.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><hr /><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;That shows a neglect of playgrounds on the South Side,&rdquo; Jaemey says.</p><p dir="ltr">The Park District did not answer our questions about what led to that disparity. A spokeswoman for Kelly, the Park District chief, instead sent a statement criticizing the whole idea of assessing a playground&rsquo;s safety based on a single visit. &ldquo;The static-in-time inspection does not account for the routine site maintenance and work orders for repairs,&rdquo; the statement said.</p><p dir="ltr">Kelly&rsquo;s spokeswoman also touted Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s renovation program, dubbed Chicago Plays. Expected to cost $38 million over the next five years, the program aims to replace the play equipment at 300 sites and departs from the policy of installing the expensive poured rubber as part of every Park District renovation. Many of these playgrounds will have to stick with wood chips.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We have reduced a 20-year replacement cycle to 5 years by implementing a practical, cost-effective citywide construction program,&rdquo; the Park District statement said. &ldquo;We changed our strategy to do more with fewer resources, and reach more Chicagoans in the process.&rdquo;</p><p>Under the Chicago Plays banner, the Park District added 50 renovations to a list of 11 playgrounds otherwise slated for rehabilitation this year. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not a paint job, it&rsquo;s a total redo of equipment,&rdquo; Emanuel said at a West Side playground this July. &ldquo;No other city is doing this.&rdquo;</p><p>But the renovation push, despite its scale, is not having a big impact in the South Side neighborhoods with those 40 low-scoring playgrounds. Just 8 of them are getting renovated this year (see <a href="#Map3">Map 3</a>).</p><p>&ldquo;The Park District is obviously not focusing on the worst playgrounds,&rdquo; Jaemey says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no justice in that.&rdquo;</p><p>At some of the playgrounds panned by the hospital but overlooked for renovation this year, officials have let the play equipment deteriorate. This week at Murray Park, 1743 W. 73rd St., some of the wooden rungs on the sole climbing structure were rotting. Others were loose or missing.</p><p>At another low-scoring South Side playground, the Park District has removed all the equipment except two swing sets, both decades-old. Drexel Playlot Park, 6931 S. Damen Ave., now looks like a vacant lot.</p><p><strong>Proving &lsquo;ownership&rsquo;</strong></p><p>If equity and safety don&rsquo;t solely determine the location and quality of Park District playgrounds, what other factors are in play?</p><p>One is funding. The Park District says it&rsquo;s spending about $125,000 per renovation in the Chicago Plays program. That&rsquo;s enough to replace all the equipment at the 300 playgrounds. &ldquo;It will be equitable across the city,&rdquo; says Rob Rejman, the district&rsquo;s planning and construction director.</p><p>But the Park District expects to attract a lot more funding for playground renovations during the program&rsquo;s five years, as it has in the past. Since 2007, Park District coffers have accounted for just 40 percent of playground funding, officials say. Another 35 percent has come from city sources ranging from tax increment-financing, to money leftover from last year&rsquo;s NATO summit, to a &ldquo;menu&rdquo; program in which each alderman controls funds for public-works projects in the ward.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MurrayPark.JPG" style="float: right; margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 412px; width: 275px;" title="At Chicago’s Murray Park, 1743 W. 73rd St., some rungs of the sole climbing structure are rotting or loose. Others are missing. Murray is among dozens of South Side playgrounds the Park District did not renovate this year despite low marks from independent safety inspectors. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Another 18 percent of playground money has come from state of Illinois grants, the Park District says. The remaining 7 percent has come from private donors such as foundations, chambers of commerce and neighborhood groups.</p><p>&ldquo;We always welcome partnerships,&rdquo; Rejman says. &ldquo;The outside funding, though, comes where it comes. We don&rsquo;t have control over it.&rdquo;</p><p>That means it comes unevenly across the city. The aldermanic menu money for playgrounds, for example, tends to flow to the North Side, the Chicago Tribune has&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-05-16/news/ct-met-playground-disparity-0517--20100516_1_playgrounds-south-side-aldermen-renovations" target="_blank">reported</a>.</p><p>The funding imbalance played a role at the Piotrowski playground, where Jaemey takes her kids. Renovating that 1993 facility cost $314,000 but, according to the Park District, much of that sum went into a poured-rubber surface instead of play equipment. The Park District didn&rsquo;t manage to pin down any outside funding, a source involved with the project adds. Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) confirms he didn&rsquo;t channel menu money to the project. So, as Jaemey observed, the renovation actually scaled the playground down.</p><p>Besides uneven funding, another factor helps determine playground locations and quality. &ldquo;You don&rsquo;t want to just helicopter in a playground,&rdquo; says Maria Dmyterko Stone, a program director of Friends of the Parks, a group that&rsquo;s working with the Park District on the Chicago Plays program. &ldquo;You want the community to want it, need it, desire it, claim it as theirs.&rdquo;</p><p>Stone says the community engagement helps protect playgrounds from litter bugs and vandals. The community also informs the Park District when a piece of play equipment breaks, she adds. Volunteers will even help rake wood chips to cover &ldquo;fall zones&rdquo; where the ground is bare.</p><p>Community members with a stake in a playground will also call police to sweep away people who don&rsquo;t belong there. &ldquo;It could be taken over by gangs,&rdquo; Stone says. &ldquo;It could be drug sales. People could be drinking in the park. And if you put a playground in there and the community hasn&rsquo;t taken ownership of it, you&rsquo;re not going to have kids playing there.&rdquo;</p><p>To demonstrate that &ldquo;ownership,&rdquo; the Chicago Plays program requires a community group &mdash; such as a park&rsquo;s advisory council or a block club &mdash; to apply for each renovation. The application includes a 50-signature petition, a letter of support from the local alderman, a community impact statement and a report on the playground&rsquo;s current condition. The application form also encourages visual evidence such as photos or video.</p><p>But many communities where high-quality playgrounds could make the greatest difference for kids also lack park advisory councils. Park District records show an advisory council at only a third of city parks. Without one, it&rsquo;s harder to apply for the renovation and raise funds to pay for a poured-rubber surface or extra equipment.</p><p>Chicago Plays thus embodies an old Chicago logic of investing in public infrastructure, first, where it has the greatest chance of &ldquo;success&rdquo; &mdash; and pushing areas that lack resources and clout to the back of the line. In this sense, Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s playground renovations look something like his <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/divvy-blues-bike-share-program-leaves-some-behind-107893" target="_blank">bike sharing</a> docks and planned <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/bus-rapid-transit-%E2%80%98maximize-potential%E2%80%99-ashland-avenue-106738" target="_blank">bus rapid transit</a> routes.</p><p><a name="DataNotes"></a></p><p><a name="DataNotes"></a>Jaemey, our curious citizen, says it&rsquo;s not fair. &ldquo;Too many places where kids really need good playgrounds are not getting them,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;They keep getting left behind.&rdquo;</p><p><em><b>CONTRIBUTORS:&nbsp;</b>Reporting and data analysis by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a>. Geospatial analysis by <a href="http://www.robparal.com/" target="_blank">Rob Paral</a>. Maps, editing and additional reporting by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/sallee-0" target="_blank">Shawn Allee</a>. Follow Mitchell, WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter, on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>. </em></p><p><em><b>SOURCES:</b> Playground locations from the Chicago Park District and the Injury Prevention and Research Center of Ann &amp; Robert H. Lurie Children&rsquo;s Hospital of Chicago. Playground surfaces from IPRC, Friends of the Parks and Google Maps. Playground safety scores from IPRC. Age, race and ethnicity data from the 2010 Census of the U.S. Census Bureau. Poverty data from the bureau&rsquo;s 2007-2011 American Community Survey. </em></p><p><em><b>NOTES:</b> The terms &ldquo;children&rdquo; and &ldquo;kids&rdquo; refer to Chicago residents, ages 0-14. The racial and ethnic categories, as described by the Census Bureau, are &ldquo;One Race / Asian,&rdquo; &ldquo;One Race / Black or African American,&rdquo; &ldquo;Hispanic or Latino,&rdquo; &ldquo;Not Hispanic or Latino / White alone.&rdquo; An entire block is considered within a half mile of a playground if any portion of that block is within a half mile. The poverty data are subject to sampling variability that can lead to unexpected results for individual census tracts. Geospatial coding may plot playgrounds slightly off their exact locations; if you notice a significant error, please write Curious City Editor <a href="mailto:sallee@wbez.org">Shawn Allee</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 12 Sep 2013 15:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/playground-equity-park-district-comes-short-108668 EcoMyths: Helping kids experience (their) true nature http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-helping-kids-experience-their-true-nature-107410 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F94531605&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1Lanier2-slide_695x316.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Students participating in an environmental project. " />Hard to believe, but true:&nbsp; the average American kid spends an average of seven and a half hours per day using entertainment media on a computer, cell phone, TV, or other electronic device, according to a&nbsp;<a href="http://kff.org/other/event/generation-m2-media-in-the-lives-of/" target="_blank">recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.</a>&nbsp; This is 53 hours per week &ndash; more than a full-time job!&nbsp; Much of the rest of the time, they are in school. So when do they have time to experience nature?</p><p>On today&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.ecomythsalliance.org/" target="_blank">EcoMyths</a> segment on Worldview, host Jerome McDonnell and I explore this topic with two experts.&nbsp; Emilian Geczi, the Youth and Community Engagement Coordinator for <a href="http://www.chicagowilderness.org/" target="_blank">Chicago Wilderness</a>, addresses the reasons that youth these days are disconnected from nature and shows us that not only electronics are the cause.&nbsp; In addition, we talk with Elizabeth Soper, Associate Director of <a href="http://www.nwf.org/eco-schools-usa.aspx" target="_blank">Eco-Schools USA</a>,&nbsp; who helps lead school programs for the National Wildlife Federation.&nbsp; Elizabeth and Emilian explain why it is important to connect children to nature and offer simple suggestions on how to encourage them to do it.</p><p>Emilian Geczi&rsquo;s main recommendation is for kids to use every moment outdoors as an opportunity to be attentive to nature: listening for bird songs, touching tree bark or climbing the trees, watching ants crawl into their tiny anthills to store tiny specs of food and crawling back out again to look for more.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.chicagowilderness.org/" target="_blank">Chicago Wilderness</a>, a consortium of over 300 environmental organizations of all sized in the greater Chicago region, has an initiative called &ldquo;No Child Left Inside&rdquo;, which is being celebrated for the entire month of June 2013, starting next week.&nbsp; They have created a <a href="http://www.chicagowilderness.org/what-we-do/leave-no-child-inside/childrens-outdoor-bill-of-rights/" target="_blank">Children&rsquo;s Outdoor Bill of Rights</a>, which asserts that every child has the right to plant a flower, follow a trail, camp under the stars, and more.&nbsp; During &quot;<a href="http://www.chicagowilderness.org/what-we-do/leave-no-child-inside/june-is-leave-no-child-inside-month/" target="_blank">Leave No Child Inside&nbsp;Month</a>,&quot; there will be numerous outdoor activities for children and their families throughout the region, all of which are listed on the <a href="http://www.chicagowilderness.org/what-we-do/leave-no-child-inside/june-is-leave-no-child-inside-month/" target="_blank">Chicago Wilderness website</a>.</p><p>My favorite on this list is the right to play in the mud.&nbsp; There&rsquo;s nothing quite as satisfying as running around barefoot in a light, warm rain and squishing your feet into the soft, slimy mud. Everyone should experience it&mdash;preferably while watching the worms squiggle around on the grass while a stocky, shiny frog hops past.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/A1-Green-Flag-SCDS-2_LauraHickey_219x165_0.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Students receiving the Green Flag, one of Eco Schools USA's three awards for participation in eco-friendly projects." />Kids in the Eco-Schools USA program have it made, too, because their teachers are encouraged to hold their classes outdoors!&nbsp; We were always trying to persuade our teachers to do that when I was in school, with little success.&nbsp; But in Eco-Schools, holding class in the dappled sunlight under the trees is not only likely, but it is also encouraged.&nbsp; Elizabeth Soper tells us about Eco-Schools guidelines and materials, most of which are available for free on the <a href="http://www.nwf.org/Eco-Schools-USA" target="_blank">National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools USA website</a>.&nbsp; Getting kids outside actually helps them to be more confident and calm and even improves their academic performance, Soper said.&nbsp; They get in touch with themselves while getting in touch with nature. Eco-Schools USA shows teachers and administrators how to make their school buildings and grounds more eco-friendly, with the help of students.&nbsp; Their programs get students outside, showing them how to create rooftop gardens and wildlife habitat.&nbsp; Eco-Schools also encourages students to get involved in understanding issues in their local community, such as identifying sources of local water pollution and learning what they can do about it.</p><div><p>Our experts show that regardless of how busy children are, they can have more fun, get better grades and learn more about their world just by stopping to smell the flowers a little bit each day. Or by playing in the mud.&nbsp;</p><p>Amen to that.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 29 May 2013 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-helping-kids-experience-their-true-nature-107410 List: What would you have been named? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-04/list-what-would-you-have-been-named-106896 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6331092681_065b1760a1.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="Flickr/Sugar Daze" />If you tell me you have a child, I&rsquo;m probably going to ask what his or her name is, mostly because I want to discern what type of person you are based on the name you picked. I find name choice a fascinating little corner of the attic that is the human mind.</p><p>If I was born a boy, I would have been named Alexander. But by the time my brother was born, my parents were on to John/Jack. Would Jack have been a different person if he were Alexander? I put a call out on my Facebook page last week for people to reveal their &ldquo;other&rdquo; name, and got some pretty fun tales in response:</p><p><strong>Anne </strong>Elizabeth Moore: Guess what.&nbsp;<strong>Buffy</strong>. For reals. My parents expected me to be a red-headed boy, and would have named that boy Buffy. Thankfully by the time they did have a red-headed boy, I had talked them out of that insanity.</p><p><strong>Alissa</strong> Rowinsky Wright:&nbsp;<strong>Adam</strong>. But, initially, they were going to name me Black Elk. A totally appropriate name for a Jewish kid about to be born in Topeka, Kansas. Thanks, hippie parents, for coming to your senses!</p><p><strong>Jessica</strong> Grose :&nbsp;<strong>Zeke</strong>. My older brother is Jacob and my mom thought Jake and Zeke sounded like a pair of bank robbers. My dad was not that into this idea, so Nicholas and Alexander were also in the running.</p><p><strong>Kirsten</strong> Palmer:&nbsp;<strong>Samuel</strong> Palmer [which became my younger brother&rsquo;s name.]</p><p><strong>Zev</strong> Valancy: I asked many times, and have always been denied. It&rsquo;s a source of frustration.</p><p><strong>Carrie</strong> Raisler: My parents were sure I was going to be a boy and were planning to name me <strong>Christian</strong>. I believe they pulled my name out of thin air in the hospital.</p><p><strong>Lauren</strong> Fox: <strong>Neil</strong> &mdash; because I was born three days after the moon landing.</p><p><strong>Nicole</strong> Cliffe: <strong>Daniel</strong>. But then, when my little brother was born, they named him &ldquo;Michael,&rdquo; because Daniel was .&nbsp;.&nbsp;. my name? You know, it&rsquo;s weird.</p><p><strong>Paula</strong> Winfrey Brown: I was to be <strong>Brice Corbin</strong> (after my dad). I was given the nickname Corky before birth. When I came out a girl, they still wanted that God awful nickname so I became Paula Courtney aka Corky until I was 6 and demanded a name that wasn&rsquo;t stupid.</p><p><strong>Ellen</strong> Werne: A few years ago my mom said, out of the blue in the middle of JC Penney, &ldquo;If I had it to do over, I would have named you Hannah.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Raia</strong> Fink: <strong>Rafael</strong></p><p><strong>Maura</strong> Farrell Devine: <strong>Cornelius</strong></p><p><strong>M Molly</strong> Backes: <strong>Brian</strong>. I recently got into an argument with my younger sister where she was like &ldquo;No, I was going to be Brian if I was a boy!&rdquo; and I said right, because they didn&rsquo;t name me Brian, so you could still be a Brian. This argument looks even stupider now that I type it out.</p><p><strong>Samantha</strong> Irby: <strong>Samuel</strong>. Some imagination on my parents, Jesus.</p><p><strong>Todd</strong> Karzen: <strong>Willamina</strong>. On the day I was born, the Sesame Street letter of the day was W. My older brother (then 3 years old) insisted that I be named Willamina. I&rsquo;m so lucky I turned out male, narrowly escaping the life of an Amish girl.</p><p><strong>Emily</strong> Weaver: I would have been <strong>Ray</strong> Harold, had I been a boy, which is the name my younger brother got, and is based on various grandfathers and great-grandfathers. I remember feeling salty as a little kid when my parents talked about the &ldquo;what you might have been named&rdquo; since his name was in the running for me. But my name was not in the running for him. I was all hurt, like &ldquo;Why didn&rsquo;t you want to name him Emily?&rdquo; and I couldn&rsquo;t understand that it was because I was already named Emily. Kids! I think he would have been Amanda.</p><p><strong>Mary </strong>Richardson: <strong>Graham</strong> Brian Downing Richardson, Jr. Which is what my brother was named three years later. What is weird is the names of my parents&rsquo; first two babies (I was the third) who died at birth (born too early). The first was named Brian Dennis. The second was named Anne Elizabeth. My little sister (who is still alive) is named Elizabeth Susan. So not only did my parents not have any qualms about using names already thought of for other children, they used names already used for other children.</p><p><strong>Jackie</strong> Gregory: <strong>Jack</strong>. Yep.</p><p><strong>Matt </strong>Shaffer: Per my mom, I would have been named <strong>Amelia</strong>, after a nun who took her in during some turbulent years in the late 60s.</p><p><strong>Sarah</strong> Kaiman: <strong>Noah</strong>. But my mom really liked <strong>Magic</strong> for a bit for either gender. FYI &mdash; This was pre-Magic Johnson.</p><p><strong>Kevin</strong> Smokler: <strong>Kara</strong>. My mom had a thing for Irish names. Like every midwestern Jew in the 70s, apparently.</p><p><strong>Martha</strong> Burzynski: Reports varied widely over the years; <strong>Michal</strong> (Polish version of Michael) or Beau.</p><p><strong>Emily</strong> Guendelsberger: <strong>Grover</strong>. At least, that is the myth.</p><p><strong>Meghan</strong> Haynes: <strong>Ajax </strong>(hot...mess... what happens when your father is a comic book fan, shaking my head); God knew what he was doing when He made me, I was spared!</p><p><em>Who would you have been? Follow Claire Zulkey <a href="http://twitter.com/zulkey" target="_blank">@Zulkey</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 30 Apr 2013 09:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-04/list-what-would-you-have-been-named-106896 Teacher brings library close to home for her Little Village neighbors http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/teacher-brings-library-close-home-her-little-village-neighbors-106825 <p><p>The enclosed porch behind Rachel Perveiler&rsquo;s Little Village apartment is crammed with shelves stuffed with books and games. It&rsquo;s also filled with children from her neighborhood.</p><p>Perveiler&rsquo;s porch is the meeting place for &ldquo;La Biblioteca del Personas,&rdquo; or the People&rsquo;s Library. Meeting here has become a weekly ritual for Perveiler and the children in her neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;Okay boys, are you turning in books?&rdquo; Perveiler asked brothers Joaquin and Jose Camacho.</p><p>&ldquo;I want to still keep this one, but I&rsquo;m returning this one back.&rdquo; Joaquin said.</p><p>&ldquo;Okay, go ahead, put it back,&rdquo; Perveiler said.</p><p>As the children looked through the shelves, pulling out books, Perveiler asked 9-year old Jaylene Rios what she thought of her most recent selection.</p><p>&ldquo;Did you like Charlotte&rsquo;s Web, or no?&rdquo; Perveiler asked.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh yeah. I&rsquo;m barely right there,&rdquo; Jaylene said, as she pointed to a place toward the beginning of the book.</p><p>&ldquo;The first chapter? Okay, so you liked it?&rdquo; Perveiler asked.</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah,&rdquo; Jaylene said.</p><p>Since the library began two years ago, the teacher said she&rsquo;s watched the kids develop what she hopes will become a life-long reading habit, and she&rsquo;s seen their reading skills improve.</p><p>She points to Jaylene, who started with Frog and Toad are Friends and has now moved on to Charlotte&rsquo;s Web.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen their interests grow,&rdquo; Perveiler said. Rather than just coming over because I&rsquo;m here and I&rsquo;m a new person, they come over actually to check out books, and they want to get a new book or they want to get a book that they know their friend just read.&rdquo;</p><p>The library began when the 23-year-old moved to Little Village back in 2011 to be close to her first job as a special education teacher at nearby Finkl Academy.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Porch%20Library%202%20-%20Rachel%20and%20Joaquin%281%29.JPG" style="float: right; height: 263px; width: 350px;" title="Joaquin Camacho talks with Rachel Perveiler as she checks in books. Perveiler uses a spiral notebook to keep track of what books are currently checked out. (WBEZ/Rebecca Kruth)" />Perveiler was moving into her apartment when some of the neighbor kids saw her carrying boxes.</p><p>&ldquo;They offered to help carry the boxes in. When they found out they were children&rsquo;s books, they were curious to see why [I had] all these children&rsquo;s books,&rdquo; Perveiler said.</p><p>The books were for her classroom, but since it was still summer, the kids asked if they could borrow them. They sat on her porch, read the books and returned them the same afternoon.</p><p>Word about the books soon spread in the neighborhood, and the children began coming to Perveiler&rsquo;s regularly. As the library evolved, the group members decided they needed to have some rules and expectations for members. They even developed a pledge, which greets visitors as they enter the library.</p><p>Joaquin Camacho, 9,&nbsp; read the hand-lettered poster out loud.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;As a member of the library, I pledge to be a role model. I promise to [show] respect and responsibility,&rdquo; Joaquin said. &ldquo;I promise these in the name of leadership, because the world needs leaders.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Before they can use the library, kids must also complete a special task. Each new member makes a bookmark to take home. After a week, they have to bring it back to Perveiler in good shape to prove they&rsquo;re responsible. If it&rsquo;s ruined, they have to do it again before they can check out a book.</p><p>Today, the library has around 500 books, mostly donations from friends and family. But, as Joaquin said, not all of the books come from outside sources.</p><p>&ldquo;My brother, Jose, and I are going to make a comic book, The Adventures of Big Fist and Lightning Man,&rdquo; Joaquin said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to put it in the library with the other comics.&rdquo;</p><p>The library doesn&rsquo;t just have books for children: Leslie Luna, 9, said her father uses the library to improve his English.</p><p>&ldquo;He talks Spanish, and so he&rsquo;s practicing his English,&rdquo; Leslie said. &ldquo;When he was in Mexico he almost dropped out of school, because he needed to work for his family, so he didn&rsquo;t get to do a lot of education in his life.&rdquo;</p><p>Leslie said she chooses books for the two of them to read together. &ldquo;I like to help him, a lot,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>When Perveiler isn&rsquo;t available at the makeshift library, her boyfriend, Michael Aumiller, helps fill in. He said he&rsquo;s also the unofficial homework helper.</p><p>&ldquo;They have limited access to internet and that sort of thing, so they like to borrow my encyclopedias. I&rsquo;ll flag things down that are important,&rdquo; Aumiller said.</p><p>Aumiller said in neighborhoods facing challenges like Little Village, it&rsquo;s important to have an involved</p><p>network of neighbors.</p><p>&ldquo;Since the library started, I&rsquo;ve noticed we just have a greater sense of connection to the community,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I just think that is something that is very important to the overall health of Drake Avenue.&rdquo;</p><p>As for Perveiler, she hopes that sense of community spreads to the kids, along with improved literacy skills.</p><p>&ldquo;I would like to see their interest in reading and their interest in each other socially, as friendships in their community, continue to grow,&rdquo; Perveiler said. &ldquo;If the space remains on the back porch always, that is perfectly fine with me.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Rebecca Kruth is a WBEZ Arts and Culture Desk intern. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/rjkruth" target="_blank">@rjkruth</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 03:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/teacher-brings-library-close-home-her-little-village-neighbors-106825 Heritage Matters: Children's Health, Culture, & Community Event http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/heritage-matters-childrens-health-culture-community-event-106537 <p><p>This Heritage Matters&nbsp;panel discussion explores children&rsquo;s health through the lens of mental and physical health, cultural identity, family and community dynamics.</p><div>The Children&rsquo;s Health, Culture, &amp; Community panel brought together presenters from three CCA member communities. <strong>Muhammad Sankari</strong>, Youth Organizer at Arab American Action Network discusses how his organization creates a safe space for youth to build healthy relationships and assist with their dual cultural identity. <strong>Peggy Montes</strong>, a former Chicago Public School teacher and a founder of the Bronzeville Children&rsquo;s Museum, explains how her museum creates interactive exhibits that educate children and their parents about cultural heritage and healthy lifestyles. <strong>Veronica Ocasio</strong>, representative from the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, shares her institute&rsquo;s role in helping to develop the Humboldt Park community into a campus of wellness.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Jenifer Cartland</strong>, Ph. D., Research Associate Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is the moderator of the discussion. &ldquo;The social environment plays a critical role in the health of young people, so it is important to consider the role cultural organizations play in creating healthy community environments,&rdquo; &nbsp;said Dr. Cartland, commenting on the panel.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Heritage Matters is a panel discussion series at Chicago Cultural Alliance</div><div>that engages CCA member organizations to speak about contemporary issues.</div><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CCA-webstory_1.JPG" title="" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Recorded live Thursday, February 7, 2013 at the&nbsp;Ann &amp; Robert H. Lurie Children&#39;s Hospital of Chicago.</p></p> Thu, 07 Feb 2013 11:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/heritage-matters-childrens-health-culture-community-event-106537 Unfamous Kids Named After Famous People http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/unfamous-kids-named-after-famous-people-104821 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3467493336_73218b3d4a.jpg" style="float: right; height: 257px; width: 300px;" title="Flickr/Keith Allison" /><span id="internal-source-marker_0.4461371744547439">About a month ago, Drew Magary published an astounding little post on </span><a href="http://deadspin.com/5967948/2012s-definitive-list-of-unusual-baby-names-will-destroy-your-soul?tag=dadspin">Deadspin</a> about some of the most unusual names in 2012. My favorite is &ldquo;Donathan,&rdquo; just because it kind of makes sense, yet doesn&rsquo;t, sort of like &ldquo;Denjamin&rdquo; or &ldquo;Staniel&rdquo; or &ldquo;Misterpher.&rdquo;</div><p>Anyway, this got me thinking on the ways people name their kids. Our son is named &ldquo;Paul&rdquo; which is a pretty straightforward name, except my underlying rationale for doing so is maybe a little weird. He&rsquo;s named for a baseball player.<br /><br />My affection for Paul Konerko has been documented online before, although what used to be a crush has leveled off to a rational appreciation for his hard work, good attitude and odd ability to have a successful yet scandal-free athletic career. So the name &ldquo;Paul&rdquo; to me became imbued with those good qualities (incidentally, while the White Sox did lose the night my Paul was born, Paulie K. homered.)<br /><br />The more I thought about it, I was able to come up with even more good famous Pauls who have brought me happiness throughout my life: Paul McCartney, <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2008/06/the_paul_f_tompkins_interview.php">Paul F. Tompkins</a>, <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2008/09/httpwwwyoutubecomwatchv0qvqsza.php">Paul Scheer</a>, Paul Rudd, RuPaul. So why not a Paul for me? A good precedent had been set by the Pauls who had come before him.<br /><br />I&rsquo;m not completely alone. A friend of mine named Stephanie was nicknamed &ldquo;Stevie&rdquo; at birth due to her parents&rsquo; affection for the Fleetwood Mac singer Ms. Nicks. I know a child of some Bears fans who is named Keller because that&rsquo;s Mike Ditka&rsquo;s middle name.<br /><br />I must know other kids out there who were named after athletes and various other famous people, but my coffee intake is low and so I can&rsquo;t summon them at this time. So please share with me: who were your (or your friends&rsquo; or family&rsquo;s) kids named for that&rsquo;s in the pop culture realm, and why? Feel free to be totally judgmental of your peer&rsquo;s decisions.</p></p> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 09:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/unfamous-kids-named-after-famous-people-104821 Small wonders http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/small-wonders-104730 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.2947838980291547">On Friday, while perusing Facebook, I saw that my friend </span><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2010/08/1_what_was_the_last.php">Bex Schwartz</a> had posted this photo from her childhood with the caption &ldquo;This photo from when I was three explains a lot:&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bex.jpg" title="" /></div><p>Something about that photo rang a bell for me. It wasn&rsquo;t the bangs or the couch or the baby brother (although those were recognizable to me, too). It was those Underoos. Was it possible that I wore the same underpants as did a friend of mine (whom I&rsquo;ve never met in person) and who lives 800 miles away? I did a little search through my parents&rsquo; slides on Flickr and realized that I too was rocking Wonder Woman Underoos in my youth:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-01-06%20at%203.54.19%20PM.png" title="" /></div><p>I&rsquo;d all but forgotten about those Underoos. What a funny coincidence. Was it possible that Bex and I were just sisters from another mister, or were there more of us secret Wonder Women from across the country? We put out a call on Facebook and Twitter and quickly found that we were not alone:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Carrie.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Deb.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/JenStacey.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Nellie.jpg" title="" /></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rusty.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p><em>Thanks to Carrie, Deb, Jen and Stacey, Nellie and Rusty for those pics.</em><br /><br />Obviously, something about those superheroine-themed underpants must have been meaningful to all of us girls, or else we wouldn&rsquo;t have posed for photos in them. Look at how proud we all are, as we should have been, because we were incredibly awesome. Little did our parents know when buying us those red, blue and gold undergarments that they were raising a secret generation of incognito superhero girls. (Or maybe they did!) I had all but forgotten that I was once Wonder Woman. But now I&rsquo;m glad that I was, and that I was not alone.<br /><br />We want to find more of you out there. Bex and I have started a Tumblr called <a href="http://smallwonderoos.tumblr.com/">Small Wonderoos</a> collecting these old photos. If you are a member of the sisterhood, please check us out and <a href="http://smallwonderoos.tumblr.com/submit">submit your own</a>. And think about how wonderful we all are.</p></p> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 09:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/small-wonders-104730 Tips for guaranteeing a perfect 'Scared of Santa' photo http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/tips-guaranteeing-perfect-scared-santa-photo-104443 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.5099058862703227">The best part of Christmas are those hilarious &ldquo;scared of Santa&rdquo; photos&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/holidaily/sns-holiday-christmas-bad-santa,0,7208347.photogallery">posted on the&nbsp;</a></span><em><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/holidaily/sns-holiday-christmas-bad-santa,0,7208347.photogallery">Chicago Tribune</a></em><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/holidaily/sns-holiday-christmas-bad-santa,0,7208347.photogallery"><em>&rsquo;s</em> website</a>. Truth be told, it wouldn&rsquo;t feel like Christmas without a couple dozen photos of terrified children sobbing on strange men&rsquo;s laps. So avoid feeling like a failure this year and turning out a regular boring old photo of your sweet child smiling on a friendly fat guy&rsquo;s knee, here are some tips on how to elicit a surefire winner:</p><br /><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4176024999_7f503c1ce2.jpg" style="float: left; height: 445px; width: 300px;" title="Ho ho ho? (Flickr/Stephen M. Scott)" /></div><ul><li dir="ltr">Try to find a hungover Santa if you can. His dour expression and the bags under his eyes will contribute to a hilarious image.<br />&nbsp;</li><li dir="ltr">Better yet: skinny Santa. What could be worse?<br />&nbsp;</li><li dir="ltr">Dress your child much too warmly for the occasion, and try to find a Santa in extremely high demand. That way, after the hours of waiting in line (don&rsquo;t forget to forget the snacks), your little one will be uncomfortable and miserable.<br />&nbsp;</li><li dir="ltr">Have the big &ldquo;stranger danger&rdquo; chat with your child on the way to meet Santa, but as you wait in line say, &ldquo;Well, Santa&nbsp;probably&nbsp;doesn&rsquo;t want to hurt you.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</li><li dir="ltr">Inform your child that Santa&rsquo;s beard is full of earwigs which will crawl into his or her ear and lay thousands of holiday eggs.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</li><li dir="ltr">Give your child a long script to recite to Santa and inform him that if he deviates from it, even by one word, Santa will kill your dog. Make sure you give him a lot to drink before you do this and go somewhere where there are no public restrooms in sight.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</li><li dir="ltr">Tell your child that you&rsquo;re sorry, but this year Santa has decided that every other child who comes to sit on his knee will be abducted on Christmas Eve and there&rsquo;s no way of knowing which is which.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</li><li dir="ltr">If all else fails, give your child a merry little pinch on the upper arm right before he or she goes up for the photo. Ho ho ho and a ha ha ha!</li></ul></p> Tue, 18 Dec 2012 10:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/tips-guaranteeing-perfect-scared-santa-photo-104443