WASHINGTON PARK — With summer break ending soon, the Washington Park nonprofit K.L.E.O. Community Family Center is hosting its annual Peace Festival Saturday.
K.L.E.O., which stands for “keep loving each other,” serves high-risk youth on the city’s South Side. The fest will be held at the center at 119 E. Garfield Blvd.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, the group will mark the conclusion of the One Summer Chicago program with music, spoken word and more.
There will also be 300 backpacks filled with school supplies handed out at Saturday’s event. University of Chicago Hospital’s mobile unit will be on hand to give free diabetes and blood pressure screenings while local barbers will give away free haircuts to students.
South Side native and spoken word artist Binky will serve as host of the 11th annual festival, along with K.L.E.O. youth member Malik Singleton, a participant in the After School Matters musical theater program. The Alec Tet Jazz Trio is among several acts scheduled to perform.
Normally, K.L.E.O. pays festival costs out of pocket, but this year Allstate’s Helping Hands Foundation is picking up the $25,000 bill.
With One Summer Chicago’s help, K.L.E.O. was able to employ over 300 students across the city this season, with 140 or so participating in Chicagobility, a six-week arts program designed for 13 to 15 year-olds “unable to legally work.
“One of the first programs cut from schools is the arts,” said Lesle’ Honore’, K.L.E.O.’s executive director. “We need to give kids the tools to express what they’ve seen, what they’ve experienced, and let them connect with each other.”
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