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Tackling a Restoration Project with the Chicago Bears

Saving a sinking playground is a true team effort

El Valor, the second largest early education center network in Chicago, benefited from a joint grant provided by the PNC Foundation and the Chicago Bears Foundation, Bears Care, to restore a playground at the El Valor Rey B. Gonzalez Children and Family Center, a Head Start site located in the South Chicago community.

PNC and Chicago Bears volunteers pose with young children from El Valor.

Teaming up with volunteers from the Chicago Bears, PNC Grow Up Great® volunteers began demolition of a sinking playground at the Head Start center in June of 2016. More than 100 volunteers pitched in to assist with physical labor and help dispose of items from the playground that wouldn’t be reused or repurposed.

Chicagoland’s Summer Interns worked alongside PNC volunteers as their community project this summer.

The new, interactive area provides a comprehensive outdoor learning and play environment, including vegetable and butterfly gardens, an outdoor classroom space, and even a mini PNC - and Chicago Bears – themed turf football field. More than 350 early Head Start children attend the Center and enjoy the refurbished space.

El Valor – in collaboration with the Chicago Public Library and Metropolitan Family Services – is also part of a PNC-funded, two-year, $1.5 million “Words To Grow On” vocabulary-building initiative aimed at promoting families’ awareness of the importance of talking to their children to build vocabulary and providing them the skills they need to do it effectively.