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Chicagoans Are Coming Together (Even As They Stay Apart) And Making The City A Little Brighter During Coronavirus

We've rounded up stories about Chicagoans coming together and making the best of a bad situation during the pandemic. Read them to brighten your day.

Pat and Anne Kelly married March 21 at Old. St. Patrick's Church in West Loop.
ZRWeddings / Provided
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CHICAGO — Not even the coronavirus can keep Chicagoans from helping their neighbors and trying to brighten up others’ days.

Of course, thousands of people have donated, volunteered and checked up on neighbors, among other things.

But Chicagoans have also found ways to celebrate milestones like weddings and birthdays, to make each other smile and to remind everyone we’re in this together — all while practicing social distancing, of course.

Here are a few of Block Club’s stories on how Chicagoans are coming together and making the best of this bad situation.

Read on (and smile):

Why Are Teddy Bears Taking Over This South Side Neighborhood? ‘Bear Walk’ Connects Neighbors During Social Distancing

SOUTH SHORE — If you’ve been seeing teddy bears in windows while taking a much-needed walk around the neighborhood in recent days, you aren’t going completely crazy.

With kids home from school and many parents either out of work or stuck at home because of coronavirus, Jackson Park Highlands residents decided to come up with a game to keep antsy children entertained — a bear walk.

Read more.

Credit: Melanie Kane Photography / Provided
John and Christy Sims married March 21 outside their Ukrainian Village home.

Love In The Time Of Coronavirus: Chicago Couples Get Married Under Quarantine

UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — Christy and John Sims spent the last two years planning their wedding.

They hired a caterer, a baker, the Chris Sarlas Orchestra. They expected 230 guests at their reception, to be hosted at the Union League Club of Chicago. She had a white dress, he had a navy suit.

Instead, at 2 p.m. Saturday, they stood on their front porch in Ukrainian Village and exchanged vows in a simple ceremony.

Read more.

Credit: Screenshot
Jasper Korotko at his 10th birthday party, a social distancing parade.

Chicago Parents Throw Social Distancing Drive-By Parade For Son’s 10th Birthday — And It’s Adorable

CHICAGO — Jasper Korotko was planning to celebrate his 10th birthday this past weekend with a game of laser tag and a sleepover.

But with social distancing in full effect due to the coronavirus outbreak, Jasper’s parents were forced to cancel the party and get creative.

“We were in a pinch to make this special,” Jasper’s mom, Jenny Korotko said.

Read more.

Student at Michele Clark working at the school’s media center.

West Side High Schoolers Launch Podcast To Stay Connected, Informed During COVID-19 CPS Shutdown

AUSTIN — A new podcast started by West Side high schoolers aims to connect — and inform —Chicago Public Schools students stuck at home during the COVID-19 crisis.

As the public health crisis escalated last week, students at Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School, 5101 W. Harrison St., decided to produce a podcast focused on keeping students connected and managing their stress during these uncertain times.

Read more.

Chicago Singalong Of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ Unites Thousands In COVID-19 Seclusion — Including Jon Bon Jovi

ROGERS PARK — Inspired by Italians singing from their balconies in solidarity against the coronavirus, Chicagoans also stuck inside created a very American version Saturday night, belting out Jon Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” together online and in person.

The #chicagosingalong created by residents Jenni Spinner and Rebecca Kell extended well beyond their Rogers Park courtyard apartment building. Thousands around the area participated and posted videos online, from condo balconies to suburban cul-de-sacs.

Read more.

Credit: Shedd Aquarium/Instagram
Penguins got to see the dolphins at the Shedd Aquarium.

Penguins, Porcupines And Even Dinosaurs Are Getting To Explore Museums And Aquariums

MUSEUM CAMPUS — The Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum are shut down because of coronavirus — but that means their creatures, and even SUE the T-rex, are getting to play tourist:

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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