This past Saturday, October 25th, City Year Chicago celebrated Make A Difference Day with the help of volunteers from across the city as we came together in the North Lawndale community at Dvorak School of Excellence. This year was special, not only for the beautiful and inspirational projects that were completed around the school, but because working alongside us were representatives of some of Chicago’s biggest sports teams. We came together in the true spirit of Make A Difference Day, uniting as a city-wide community to impact one of our schools, and keep students conscious of the fact that their journey through school has only just begun!

The aforementioned teams represent the City Year Chicago All Stars; a partnership reflecting the mutual agreement that education is the keystone upon which communities are built. The Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Fire, Sky and White Sox participated in various ways, including providing program support, volunteers and mascots. Each team also contributed merchandise in order to reward volunteers for their service to students. 

We were joined by a number of special guests from Chicago’s sports organizations. Sparky, from the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, was eager to get involved and was spotted on the basketball court chasing down rebounds. Tommy Hawk was able to attend, despite the Blackhawks season just starting, and spent some time snapping pictures with Dvorak teachers and principals – members of the Ice Crew also joined in painting and landscaping projects. Sparky and Tommy Hawk helped co-MC the morning ceremonies! The Chicago Sky dispatched Sky Guy, who joined in some mural work before settling into his own painting project. It was hard to tell who was having more fun; the students, or the mascots!

The goal of higher education is never too far from Dvorak students, as their classrooms each have a college or university sign hanging above them. Numerous volunteers helped add to that on Saturday by painting the logos of these institutions onto banners to further inspire students to one day attend.

This mural depicts the journey of education; from beginning school as a child to graduating as a young adult. What makes this mural even more special is that it was designed by a Dvorak student. After he goes on to high school, and later college, this mural will remain on the wall as a reminder to the school of the importance of continuing on the academic journey.

This Saturday, Chicago came out in force to further inspire Dvorak School of Excellence to be…well, excellent. A huge thank-you to everyone involved!

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