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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Showcase Your Snow-Sculpting Skills And Sample Sweets At Saturday’s Snow Party In South Shore

The Activate South Coast Project, an effort to revitalize underused parks, will hold a snowman contest with hot cocoa and s'mores Saturday morning at Hasan Park.

A snowman sits in Washington Square Park on Chicago's Near North Side on Feb. 3, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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SOUTH SHORE — South lakefront residents will put the inches of fresh snow from this week’s winter storm to good use with a “snow party” Saturday, their latest event in an effort to get neighbors involved with the community’s underused parks.

The Activate South Coast Project will hold a snowperson-building contest with hot cocoa, s’mores and snow angels 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Hasan Park, 6855 S. Oglesby Ave.

Attendees can enter into several categories: The “most creative” snowperson, the best traditional snowperson, the best snow furniture or home and the shortest and tallest snowpeople.

Winners will receive $25-$50, while other prizes include gift cards, game cards, tote bags and a book bag and T-shirts from event co-sponsor Fall Babylon.

The snow party reflects the project’s mission to “help us to be neighborly again … especially around loving our children in a community framework,” organizer Krystal Amevor said. “It’s important to see lots of different types of organizations rallying around children to activate communities.”

Amevor founded Activate South Coast with fellow South Shore resident and community organizer Linda Young last summer. The program aims to give “a new energy” to public spaces from South Shore to Hegewisch and beyond.

“We’ve got to be able to utilize our spaces and be free to exercise our community identity,” Amevor said ahead of the program’s first event, a day of public art and community service at Hasan Park in June.

Since then, Activate South Coast has helped organize several events, including a Juneteenth festival about literacy on 79th Street, a stewardship day at the South Shore Nature Sanctuary in October, a community cleanup around Caldwell Elementary in Avalon Park and a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march, Amevor said.

The project will continue organizing events that center creativity and get kids outside, Amevor said. Bessemer, Steelworkers and Schafer parks along with the South Shore Nature Sanctuary are among the sites where she’ll focus on developing programs this year.

As the project rounds out its first year, it’s also gained two sponsors in Fall Babylon — founded by Calumet Heights resident Hillary Bright — and South Shore resident Carla Felton’s company, Desk Calendar for Cadence, which will take on administrative tasks.

Activate South Coast’s creative and outdoor programs are a needed complement to the education kids receive in their schools, Bright said. Bright, Felton and Amevor are all Black women educators.

“There needs to be a more comprehensive and holistic approach to education and youth engagement,” Bright said. “I feel like what we’re doing is one of many ways to address that.”

Credit: Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
Krystal Amevor (bottom left) poses with two attendees inside a photo stand-in board at the Activate South Coast kickoff event at Hasan Park in June 2021.

Felton said the creativity and happiness she saw among attendees at the June kickoff event were “therapeutic” and could encourage Southeast Side kids and adults to get out and see their neighborhoods.

“It just reminded me of when I was growing up as a kid — we were always outside, we were always having fun, we were always doing things,” Felton said. “Maybe our kids need to be shown and taught what that’s like. They deserve that, and they should have that.”

Beyond holding community events, Activate South Coast was founded to reestablish Hasan Park’s defunct park advisory council. That effort is still in progress, said Amevor, who has served as interim president during the revival effort.

“We’re still in process of creating the PAC, and we haven’t had any formal elections,” Amevor said. “If we get community engagement [at events like the snow party], people will see some of the great things that are happening at Hasan and want to get involved.”

For more information on the snow party, email Amevor at suiteblaqstar@gmail.com. For more information on Activate South Coast, email activatesouthcoastproject@gmail.com.

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