WTTW, Slow Roll Chicago and the Chicago Park District Partner to Celebrate Chicago’s Middle School & High School Graduates

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - May 14, 2015

WTTW, as part of the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen! initiative, is proud to partner with Slow Roll Chicago and the Chicago Park District to host the first event of its kind: Celebration of Graduation: Rolling Into The Future on Saturday, May 30 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm CDT.  This free community event is will celebrate the achievements of Chicago’s young graduates and inspire them to “roll into their future” with solid goals to realize their full potential. This special day of celebration will include a leisurely community bicycle ride, or slow roll, through the neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago and a celebration in Tuley Park at 501 E. 90th Place, located in the Chesterfield community.

This unique celebration will begin with the distribution of free t-shirts to the first 500 participants at the event, supported by local business, Essential Creations Chicago, as well as healthy snacks provided by AlDI.  Riders will gather at Tuley Park with their bicycles between 10 – 11:30 am.   The ride, guided by a team of cyclists from Slow Roll Chicago, will depart at 12 noon for a leisurely circuit through the neighborhoods of Burnside, Chatham, West Chesterfield, Roseland, Auburn Gresham, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing and West Chatham. A limited number of loaner bicycles, made possible in part by REI and Growing Power, will be made available for individuals who wish to participate in the ride but do not have access to a bicycle.   The Slow Roll route will take riders through the campuses of Kennedy King College and Chicago State University, as well as past a number of educational institutions, community centers, and local businesses.  

Following the ride, WTTW has organized an exciting celebration including a DJ, music, and live entertainment in Tuley Park.  Performances will include rappers and singers from Donda’s House, a nonprofit to support young aspiring artists in Chicago named for Kanye West’s mother Dr. Donda West; Voices of Englewood; Chicago State Dance Team; South Shore Drill Team, The Horace Mann Marching Mustangs; and many more.   Event participants will be given an opportunity to keep the party going by helping generate energy with the bike-powered stage, made possible in part by Climate Cycle.   Free healthy snacks and pizza donated by ALDI and Reggio’s Pizza will be given away.    Participants will also have the chance to enter and win bicycles and other wonderful prizes.   Community organizations serving

Chicago’s families, including AARP’s Experience Corps, City Colleges of Chicago, and Chicago State University, will be on hand to share guidance and information with graduates and their families.

While the Celebration of Graduation is a unique opportunity for people throughout Chicago to get out in the community and celebrate the educational achievements of youth in our city, it is also an opportunity to promote biking as a healthy physical activity and to support a more positive narrative about our neighborhoods.   “When you drive in your vehicle through a neighborhood quickly, you don’t get the same sense of community you would as on a bike.   The slow roll bike ride encourages people to make connections within the community and see Chicago’s neighborhoods from a different perspective,” said Jamal Julien, co-founder of Slow Roll Chicago. 

Additional details and free registration for this event is at graduationslowroll.eventbrite.com and wttw.com/events.  This event is made possible by the generous support of Aldi, Reggio’s Pizza, AARP Foundation Experience Corps, Essential Creations Chicago, REI, and through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen! initiative.

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ABOUT AMERICAN GRADUATE: LET'S MAKE IT HAPPEN!
American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen! is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to help local communities across the country address the dropout crisis. CPB, in partnership with America's Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is working with public media stations nationwide, including regions where the dropout crisis is most acute, to raise awareness of the issue and coordinate action with community partners – all with the goal of helping students stay on course to graduate from high school.

ABOUT WTTW
WTTW, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2015, is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, the Spanish-language channel WTTW Vme, and WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and on wttw.com. Recognized for award-winning local and national productions such as Chicago Tonight, Check, Please!, and MEXICO – One Plate at a Time, WTTW presents the very best in cultural, nature, science, public affairs, and children’s programming to almost 2 million weekly viewers across a four state area. WTTW is unique in its commitment to serving the children in our community, with half of its weekday broadcast schedule devoted to educational and non-commercial content.  WTTW’s robust American Graduate website, wttw.com/AmericanGraduate, provides unique video, educational resources for families, and valuable suggestions for ways that audiences can get involved.

ABOUT SLOW ROLL CHICAGO
Slow Roll Chicago is a bicycle movement working to achieve equity in bicycle access, usage, infrastructure, safety, culture, and other bicycle-related resources in Chicago with particular focus on communities of the Southside and Westside, making these communities healthier, more empowered, more economically viable, more socially cohesive, more bikeable, and ultimately more liveable. Slow Roll Chicago is a community-based, nonprofit organization utilizing the activity of bicycling to connect a diverse group of people and improve the condition of communities by organizing community bicycle rides and other bicycling-related programs throughout the greater Chicago area. Slow Roll is for everyone, as all ages, skill levels and types of bikes are welcome. The name Slow Roll comes from the commitment to a slow pace, keeping groups safe and giving riders a unique perspective of the city of Chicago and its beautiful neighborhoods. (slowrollchicago.org)

ABOUT THE CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT
The Chicago Park District is the 2014 Gold Medal Award winner, recognized for excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,300 acres of parkland, more than 585 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY.


WTTW Contact

Julia Maish
Manager of Media Relations
(773) 509-5551