I have been in Chicago for a week and so far am enjoying the lake breezes, local culture the easy going politeness of Chicagoans. I know Chicago is the third largest city in the US but somehow it still feels like a small town. I am staying in a neighborhood called Lakeview for the summer, north of Lincoln Park and an easy walk to Lake Michigan and the iconic Wrigley Field and quick bus or train ride to the center of the city.
So far, I have discovered three remarkable enterprises where dreams come true in Lakeview:
1. The TimeLine Theatre is currently running a world premier play called My Kind of Town by local journalist John Conway. John is 61 year old, first time playwright and his play is based on his 20-year investigation into the Chicago Police department’s practice of torturing suspects. The theatre’s mission is to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. I was able to attend an event this week where John was interviewed about the process of creating a play and taking a huge risk late in his career. After several years of writing and re-writing the play opened to rave reviews and I plan to see it next month.
2. Panera Cares in Lakeview is the fourth community café to be opened by the successful Panera Bread Company as a way to give back to its communities. Instead of prices, this special café offers suggested donations so that people in need of a meal can have one for free and people who want to help community members can do so by paying the suggested price or donating more. If you like the idea and are unable to visit one of the locations, you can donate online.
3. Next Door is a one of a kind UPSCALE community center that was designed and funded by State Farm Insurance. The center offers one to one coaching, classes, and small conference space. Everything except the selections at the coffee bar are FREE and the insurance company behind the venture keeps a very low profile so that it is truly a feels like part of the community rather than a commercial. I will be hosting event there in July and using the space as my meeting place for interns.
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