It’s been an eventful week of welcoming team mentors and youth leaders, building relationships and launching neighborhood teams. The admin team–Lizzy, Sue, and Eileen–did a great job bringing the pieces of the program together, ensuring everything ran smoothly and all programming was in place. And now the summer adventures begin!

Today is our first all-SSP field trip! Exploring South Side assets. While recognizing each other as the assets we each are.


We’ll be trying a new exercise at lunchtime. Back in March, I attended an art exhibit at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, called FEAST.  It drew on many of the same projects as the FEAST exhibit at the University of Chicago’s SMART museum in 2012, including meals hosted by Chicago’s world-reknowned South Side redevelopment artist Theaster Gates.

One project they described was called Potluck, Chicago. Groups of artists and community members came together around a potluck meal hosted at community sites (to take away any hierarchy of guest/host) and explored their vision for Chicago’s future. They answered the following series of questions:

  1. What are your favorite comfort foods?
  2. What experience in your life most shaped you?
  3. What strengths do you bring to the table?
  4. What small act could improve your community?
  5. What is your big concern for Chicago’s future?
  6. What is your wish for the city?

They wrote first on post-its that they answered individually, then shared with their tables, then placed on a poster board to share with a wider audience.

After a South Side bus tour, today at lunchtime the Summer Service Partnership will create Soul Vegetarian: Chicago (love the Greater Grand Crossing restaurant!) before visiting Theaster Gates’ Dorcester Projects.

This should be fun! I look forward to exploring Chicago’s South Side assets—the places, the people, the youth, the university students, culinary and artistic talent—sharing new tastes and new adventures, big ideas and little stories of ourselves.