Kroc Center Reaches Milestone of More than 8,000 Members and
Average Daily Attendance of 1,500 People
CHICAGO – The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center on the South Side of Chicago will mark its First Anniversary this weekend with a weekend full of activities.
The Kroc Center is already making a difference to residents of the surrounding communities, 8,000 of whom have joined the Kroc Center and more than 1,500 of whom visit the Kroc Center on an average weekend day to take advantage of the vast array of programs, services and state-of-the-art facilities available at the one-of-a-kind community center.
The weekend will kick-off with a Gospel Concert for the community on Friday, June 14, at 7 p.m. featuring Grammy, Dove and Stellar Award winning gospel recording artist Kim Stratton. The First Anniversary Celebration and Open House will be free and open to the public on Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will showcase the wide variety of programs and services at the Kroc Center through sports demonstrations and clinics run by the Chicago Bulls/White Sox Academy, music and dance performances by youth and adults in the Kroc Center Academy of the Arts programs, appearances by Kroc mascot R.J. Kroc and characters from Radio Disney and tours of the Kroc Center.
With 160,000-square-feet of facilities and the broadest range of recreational, arts and educational programs located under one roof anywhere in the city, the Kroc Center is transforming the lives of area young people, parents and seniors, with a particular focus on providing a safe haven from violence, enhancing educational and sports opportunities for youth and improving the health and wellness of people of all ages. Its unique blending of programs that span the generation gap has made the Kroc Center a popular destination for the entire family.
“It has been a remarkable year at The Kroc Center, and truly inspirational to witness how the talented team of professionals and the dynamic range of programming is transforming the lives of children and teens who need a safe haven and positive, enriching opportunities to play, grow and learn,” said Major David Harvey, Administrator of The Salvation Army Kroc Center. “The Kroc Center is enabling them to gain valuable skills in a variety of activities previously unavailable to them, like competitive swimming, diving, soccer, theater, ballet and music. The after-school tutoring and programs and Teen Zone are helping them boost their academic achievement. And the robust senior program is helping older adults take full advantage of the fitness center and classes, aquatics center and with dramatic improvements in their health and wellness. The Kroc Center has entirely fulfilled our vision and become a popular destination for the entire family.”
Below are just a few of the programs and services making an impact on the physical, social and emotional well being of youth, adults and seniors:
Sports, Fitness and Recreation:
About 800 youth and adults participate in Kroc Center sports leagues and activities, such as basketball, tee ball and little league baseball, girl’s softball, volleyball, soccer, golf and flag football.
Thirty-three young people compete in 15 events in swim meets with the Kroc Center’s Swim Team. Hundreds more youth and adults have learned to swim through the Kroc Aquatics Center’s swimming classes. Seniors have taken advantage of low-impact water aerobics to get fit and lose weight.
The Bulls/White Sox Academy is on-site at the Kroc Center operating youth baseball, basketball and fastball camps, as well as inner-city youth leagues.
Academy of the Arts
More than 7,000 youth and adults each month participated in arts programs of the Kroc Center Academy of the Arts, including instruction in tap dance, hip hop dance, modern dance, ballet, acting, piano, guitar and choir and brass. Visual arts classes include painting and drawing sculpture and jewelry design. The annual Academy of the Arts Festival held in October provided performance opportunities and free entertainment for the entire community.
More than 1,700 older adults attend Kroc Center Senior programming and fitness classes every month. In addition to access to the fitness center and the aquatics center programs, seniors participate in the arts education programs at the Kroc Center, as well as computer classes and AARP classes. Fitness classes specifically tailored for seniors include stepping classes, line dancing, tai chi, Zumba and golf. The Kroc Center recently partnered with Silver & Fit to offer financial support to seniors who are Medicaid/Medicare eligible.
Family Life and Education Center
The Kroc Center offers a variety of enrichment programs and social services for adults and families, including culinary classes and classes in home repair, sewing, ball room dancing, financial literacy and more.
Elementary, middle and high school students are provided with after-school tutoring in reading, writing and math, as well as ACT/SAT prep.
Classes in computer literacy, resume writing and GED help young adults and older adults alike move ahead professionally and enhance their employment prospects.
Kroc Center Teen Zone
More than 280 youth participate each month in The Kroc Center’s Teen Zone, which is open until 9 p.m. and offers a variety of fund and educational activities for teens, such as games, field trips, writing club, arts programs, culture clubs and mentoring. The Kroc Center Teen Zone is a participating member of After-School Matters and the IzzyzKIDz after-school program of the Israel Idonije Foundation, founded by Chicago Bears defensive linebacker, Israel Idonije.
Fourth Annual Summer of Abundance and Hope Back-to-School Health Fair and Gospel Concert
The Kroc Center’s annual Back-to-School Health Fair and Gospel Concert in July provides free back-to-school physicals and a variety of free health screenings for youth and adults, as well as performances by popular Billboard gospel recording artists More than 3,500 families attended the health fair last year.
Celebrity Philanthropic Initiatives, Appearances and Outreach
Many national celebrities have come to the Kroc Center to reach out to South Side communities and partner with the Salvation Army Kroc Center to sponsor educational and charitable events, including Jennifer Hudson and the Julian D. King Foundation, R&B recording artist Brandy, Chicago Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije, Quentin Richardson of the NBA Orlando Magic, the Common Ground Foundation of hip hop artist and actor Common, Olympic Silver Medalist Swimmer Maritza Correia, PGA tour four-time winner Chip Beck, ABC-TV’s Shark Tank star and founder of FUBU clothing line Daymond John, NFL New York Giant Christian Hopkins, Saint Xavier University’s 2011 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship football team, the Joffrey Ballet and the After School Matters Summer Intensive Program.
For more information about The Kroc Center and First Anniversary Celebration activities, visit www.kroccenterchicago.org.
About The Kroc Center: The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center opened in June 2012 and offers the largest array of educational, sports, arts and supportive programs anywhere in the city under one roof. The Kroc Center is a major catalyst of growth for the community, creating jobs and providing a safe haven for youth sorely in need of the recreational, creative and educational alternatives to gangs and violence that the Kroc Center offers. The Kroc Center exposes children and families to different people, activities and arts that were formerly unavailable in the community. For additional details, services and program descriptions, visit www.kroccenterchicago.org. ;
In 1998, Mrs. Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, donated $90 million to The Salvation Army to build a comprehensive community center in San Diego, California. Her goal was to create a center, supported in part by the community, where children and families would be exposed to different people, activities and arts that would otherwise be beyond their reach. Upon her death in 2003, Joan Kroc passed on to The Salvation Army $1.8 billion, the largest gift ever made to a private charity for the specific purpose of constructing state-of-the-art facilities in underserved areas around the country, facilities that would offer a completely new approach to the concept of community centers. A total of 21 Salvation Army Kroc Centers have now opened around the country.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is the largest social service organization in the world and the single largest direct provider of social services in Chicago and the state of Illinois. The Army operates 200 points of entry in neighborhoods across the greater Chicago area, providing disaster relief, shelter, meals, rehabilitation programs, child care and head start, senior services and more. On any given night, about 900 people are sleeping under a Salvation Army roof. In 2010, The Army celebrated 125 years of service in Chicago. The Salvation Army is there every day, 24-hours-a-day in Chicago and throughout the country providing disaster relief to people in crisis.