southtownstar
BUMP 
Weather Updates

Movies program in 19th Ward passing screen tests

Updated: September 11, 2014 6:46AM



Many of Chicago’s small neighborhood parks empty out by nightfall, but on Thursday nights the parks in Chicago’s 19th Ward are abuzz with activity and the sound of children’s laughter, thanks to the weekly Movies in the Park program organized by Ald. Matt O’Shea and the 19th Ward Youth Foundation.

“We’ve been doing this for six years now,” O’Shea said. “We start the week after school gets out and run it all summer until the kids have to go back.”

O’Shea said that the movies — projected onto a giant, collapsible screen and accompanied by a set of speakers bigger than most of the target audience — are selected by a vote by parents. The movies are shown in a different park in the ward each week, including McKiernan Park in the Mount Greenwood community, where the recent showing of “The Nut Job” drew an audience of about 250 people.

“I think it’s great for the families,” O’Shea said. “To take a family to the Sox game costs over a hundred bucks, to go to the movies is almost 50 (dollars), but this way the parents just grab a blanket and some juice boxes and they have a night’s entertainment. Plus it gives the kids a different experience, since none of them remember anything like a drive-in movie.”

Overall, that’s the real point of the events, to give the kids something to do while they are out of school. The 19th Ward Youth Foundation organizes events for that purpose year-round, including a family 5K run and walk at Thanksgiving and dodgeball tournaments over the winter.

The movies in the park are free and the other events are offered at a minimal fee so everyone can participate. Proceeds from the event for which there is a charge help fund the free events and go to local charities.

“I think it’s a wonderful program,” said Nora McIntosh, who was attending her second movie of the summer with her two children. “It’s a nice way to get together as a community and spend time with our friends and the kids.”

“It’s great,” said Mike Duddleston, who said he’s been attending the movies with his 10-year-old daughter since they started. “It’s nice for the kids to be able to get out in the evening and enjoy themselves.”

The Youth Foundation has two more movies scheduled this summer. “The Lego Movie” is to be screened Aug. 14 in Graver Park, 1518 W. 102nd Place; and “Muppets Most Wanted” is slated for Aug. 21 at Kennedy Park, 11320 S. Western Ave.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.