North Park Hosts Viking Kids Day for Chicago Youth

North Park University Hosts Fourth Annual Viking Kids Day

CHICAGO (November 2, 2009) – North Park University gave more than 70 kids from underresourced areas in Chicago a Happy Halloween for its fourth annual Viking Kids Day on Saturday, October 31.

The University partnered with three different ministries to bring the kids to campus—Bethel, a New Life Church program serving West Humboldt Park; Westlawn, an outreach to the Lawndale neighborhood; and World Relief, which serves refugees or recent immigrants to Chicago.

North Park’s Urban Outreach office, a division of University Ministries, organized the day’s activities, which included time for the kids to interact one-on-one with volunteer mentors, trick-or-treat in Seminary housing, have lunch in the cafeteria, attend a Viking football game, and meet the football players and cheerleaders.

“The highlights of the day were definitely the mentorships between the kids and the North Park students, and the meet and greet with the players and cheerleaders afterward,” says Lindsay Leavenworth, the Viking Kids Day coordinator. She notes that more than 80 student and faculty volunteers from the University and Seminary participated.

“It's a great opportunity for students to volunteer and give back, especially for those who are unable to make a weekly commitment to other Urban Outreach sites,” says Leavenworth. “The kids absolutely love the day. It's huge for them to get away from home, have a fun day out with a young Christian mentor, and visit a college.”

Leavenworth assisted with last year’s Viking Kids Day, but this was her first year coordinating it herself. In the future, she hopes the University will be able to host even more kids, by applying for community urban ministry grants to increase funding for the event.

“God was definitely present on Saturday in every aspect of the day,” she says. “Viking Kids Day wouldn't have been possible without every area of the community participating—from those who supported financially, to those who gave their time, to Aramark's help with lunch, to the football players and coaches—everyone gave a hand to make things happen.”

View photos of Viking Kids Day