Heart of the City recently launched satellite soccer and youth development programs in three communities in Lake County – Highwood/Highland Park, Gurnee and Park City.
Since the group’s founding, the mission has been focused on making soccer youth development programs accessible to all children. The satellite programs seek to break accessibility barriers, such as transportation and astronomical costs, to ensure children across the county can benefit from quality youth sports programs.
“We know youth violence, exposure to drugs, mental health concerns and much more are becoming larger issues of concern in several communities across the county and to help address these concerns we are proud to partner with school districts, community leaders like Park City Mayor Pannell and local social service agencies to better support children and families” Heart of the City Executive Director Rena Lee said.
“After the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to close our Teen Center and the kids in our community lost a safe space to play. We were fortunate to have Heart of the City come in to fill that gap for our families. Their soccer and youth development programs have made a huge impact in the community. This is a perfect example of the ways we work together to keep youth safe and out of mischief,” Park City Mayor Steve Pannell said.
The pilot academy programs are focused on developing children’s soccer skills with USSF-licensed professional coaches, while providing children a safe space to experience hands-on social-emotional learning focused activities.