Parkway Gardens residents marked the holidays with a Winter Wonderland Experience and gifts for all residents 18 and under on Saturday, December 11. Related Midwest and Related Affordable partnered with Chi Gives Back to deliver toys for the youth.
More than 500 residents enjoyed individually-wrapped cookies, games, holiday music and a photo opportunity with Santa on Saturday in a heated tent at Parkway Gardens. Residents 18 and under received a toy or gift card. Guests were invited to enjoy a hot beverage at the Future Ties Hot Chocolate Station and join Project H.O.O.D. to create a holiday card using their photo with Santa.
“Every family should feel the holiday spirit this time of year,” said Curt Bailey, President of Related Midwest. “Being able to do something special for our residents is something that the Related team looks forward to every year, especially after the events of 2020 kept us apart. We’re so happy that we could create a winter wonderland for the families and children of Parkway Gardens.”
“We applaud the teams at Related Midwest and Related Affordable for their leadership on behalf of the families at Parkway Gardens,” said Kouri Marshall, Co-Founder of ChiGivesBack. “It was a joy to celebrate, share Christmas cheer and see the excitement of the kids as they selected their gifts.”
Power 92’s HotRod played festive tunes throughout the event as attendees danced and took part in a 360 photo booth, limbo and more games. Related and Chi Gives Back volunteers helped children pick out their presents and handed out treats. Residents were encouraged to take home a photo with Santa to remember the day as well as a holiday cookie or cake pop. Children received face painting and decorated holiday cards, and guests enjoyed food from Harold’s Chicken Shack. The outdoor setting and additional safeguards offered space for residents to attend safely during the pandemic.
Future Ties, which provides mentorship, summer camp and after school programs on-site at Parkway Gardens, gave away free hats, gloves and scarves during the event for residents to keep warm this winter.
“In this season we’re proud to bring warmth, light and delight to Parkway Gardens,” said Jennifer Maddox, Future Ties Executive Director. “More than ever, it’s time to reflect on how we can give back to our neighbors and especially our children.”
Rainbow PUSH participated in the event by providing free turkeys to residents.
Related Midwest continues to make ongoing capital improvements to Parkway Gardens as well as hosting events for residents. The winter wonderland follows a series of resident events hosted by Related including a summer ice cream social, a back-to-school event with free school supplies and groceries and the unveiling of a series of murals created by Parkway Gardens teenagers in partnership with After School Matters and artist Erick “Roho” Garcia. The Related Affordable Foundation continues to seek applications for scholarships for Parkway Gardens’ residents attending secondary education, including colleges and trade schools.
Tricia Van Horn