At the Celebration of Service on January 14, 2012, thousands of volunteers will be disbursed among 44 sites across Chicago to help make a difference in the lives of students, seniors, veterans and adults with disabilities. One of those sites is the American Indian Center (AIC).

The AIC in Chicago is the oldest urban Native American center in the nation. Located in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, the American Indian Center hosts a number of activities, celebrations, and learning and volunteer opportunities, including a popular annual powwow.

Our relationship with the AIC began a number of years ago with volunteers serving at a variety of projects as needed. Recently, this relationship has grown as we have expanded our volunteer opportunities to offer regular Read-with-Me and Eco-Art programs at the AIC.

As planning for the Celebration of Service began, the American Indian Center was a partner that we were excited to introduce to new volunteers. Representatives from AIC met with a Chicago Cares Service Coordinator to choose project models that would have the biggest impact on the people they serve. Along with some important facilities improvement projects, the AIC was interested in hosting a World’s Fair for their students. The World’s Fair project model is an interactive way for students to learn about other cultures as they take a ‘passport’ to different stations and complete activities that teach them a little about the history and culture of people around the world.

The AIC was excited, but they also brought it to our attention that we do not have any information about Native Americans in our current World’s Fair model. With help from the AIC representatives, we are proud to announce that this year our World’s Fair will be a little more complete, as we introduce a new activity shared with us by our friends at the AIC.

On their visit to the USA, children will learn about Native tribes and cultures, focusing specifically on the Great Lakes region. While here, children will play ‘Indian Football,’ a game where the two competing teams have different abilities, but the same goal. As a result, children will learn to consider other points of view as well as different experiences. The game has historically been played for many reasons including; to resolve conflicts, make decisions, or simply to entertain.

Partnerships like this remind us that we’re never too old to learn something new, and that it is through our work together that we grow stronger.

Thank you to our friends and partners at the American Indian Center for helping us create better projects for students. This is a gift that will be enjoyed on January 14 and at many more World’s Fair projects to come!

Register now to join us at the Celebration of Service