More than 90 languages are spoken in the homes of Skokie residents and the Skokie Park District strives to serve every person in Skokie.
An Award-Winning Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Park District
The district won the the Illinois Park & Recreation Association’s first-ever ‘Champions for Change’ Award in January 2021, recognizing an agency with unique and exemplary practices of increasing access, and fostering diversity, equity and inclusion within their community and organization.
Diversity initiatives at the Skokie Park District include:
Staff Diversity Committee
Formed in 2016, this park district staff team has implemented the following initiatives:
- Meets with the district's programming trends task force to create new classes for a more diverse Skokie population.
- Created "languages spoken" name tags for staff.
- Created a facility "Welcome" sign for the Weber Leisure Center, featuring 72 languages.
Adverse Childhood Experiences Program (ACE)
Two staff members were trained in the ACE Interface Trainer Program
SEED Training (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)
One staff member has completed the trainer course. Five staff members have completed or are currently participating in training. Two current park district board members have completed the training.
Staff Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)
- Staff compile a comprehensive checklist of diversity actions and interviews and/or focus groups that reveal root challenges and opportunities.
- Staff will soon conduct an Equity Audit of the District, including internal reviews of key policies and practices.
Skokie Festival of Cultures
Formed in 1990 in partnership with many other Skokie government agencies and service clubs, the Festival of Cultures honors more than 60 Skokie cultures and more than 25,000 attendees, every third weekend in May. Visit the website here.
Devonshire Cultural Center
- Early Childhood Classes - World Explorers and Little Bilinguals
- Preschool ethnic potlucks with foods representing each family’s country of origin
- Preschool classroom discussions regarding December holiday celebrations and celebrations of the Chinese Year of the Pig, Olympic Day, Naw-Ruz (Persian/Iranian New Year), Turkish, and Santa Lucia Day
- Summer camps: Camp Amigos and World Travelers
- Culinary classes include Culinary Travels, Caribbean Kitchen, Puerto Rican Cuisine & Polish Cuisine
- Devonshire Playhouse Teen Performers: A Chorus Line-High School Edition (with a focus on the LGBTQ community).
- Summer Concerts: Rico, a tribute to Santana (Latin)
- Hosted School District 68 PTA’s Culture Day, a multicultural event for children
- Jamaica in January
- Gingarte Capoeira Chicago Family Festival
Oakton Community Center & Park
- Festival of Colors Celebration
- Skokie Festival of Cultures
- International Short Films
- The Barefoot Hawaiian Family Festival
- Ayodele African Drum and Dance Family Festival
- Polish Speaker at the Diversity Advisory Committee: Coming Together in Skokie
- German Conversational Group
Skokie Heritage Museum
- Muslim History of Chicago: Coming Together in Skokie
- Chinese Paper Cutting
- History of Tea
- Folktales and Paper Cutting: Coming Together in Skokie
Tot Learning Center
- Holiday Celebrations Around the World
- Hawaiian Movement and Music
- Pastas Around the World
Weber Leisure Center
- Sports Camps’ Olympics Day – a celebration of countries around the world and competitions in different sporting events
- International Folk Dancing
- Aikido – lectures and lessons from Budo and Bushido culture.
- Kum Do – Korean and Japanese modern martial art sword fighting
- Women’s Only Fitness Class
- Qigong – originated from Chinese Buddhism
- Cricket – 16th century English and now middle-eastern sport
- Filipino Volleyball & Basketball Leagues
- Assyrian Basketball Tournament
- El Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) November – In collaboration with Skokie United, local businesses and various community members.
- Elizabeth Meyer Before-and-After-School participants – learn basics of Spanish with Ms. Marisol – letters, numbers, colors, animals, body parts, songs, etc.