Annual Children’s Day brings tumbling team to Evanston

Jia You

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More than 200 children and parents watched the Jesse White Tumbling Team perform at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center on Sunday as part of the Children’s Day celebration.

The celebration, held annually on the first Sunday of May at 1655 Foster St., aims to celebrate Evanston children and give them an opportunity to enjoy themselves, said Betsy Jenkins, the center’s manager.

“This is a type of day when a lot of kids and parents come in, sit, stay and see people they haven’t seen in a long time,” Jenkins said. “It makes it a whole family event.”

The center provided free food and balloons to children and their parents, in addition to organizing games such as catching goldfish. Program supervisor Martin Mancera’s face painting station attracted a large crowd of children eager for cosmetic pirate or tiger disguises. At 3:30 p.m. the Jesse White Tumbling Team awed the audience with human pyramids at the indoor basketball court.

Sherletta Mattison, the center’s bus driver, said she and her children enjoyed the event.

“I think it’s nice that children can come out and enjoy themselves and parents don’t have to pay for anything,” Mattison said. “Everyone’s welcome, and that’s the best thing about it.”

Her 7-year-old son, Christopher Mattison, said the Jesse White Tumblers’ performance was his favorite.

“They jumped really high and they do flips,” he said.

Chicago resident Cornelius Scott, who participates in a mentorship program at the McGaw YMCA, also brought his mentee Jacoby Brooks to Sunday’s event. Scott said that for him, the event was a celebration of diversity.

“It’s nice to see all the ethnic groups come out and see the children coming together,” Scott said. “It brings the community together.”

Jenkins said she was happy to see the crowd get larger and larger every year.

“We can see now that we are serving the entire Evanston community,” she said. “It’s good to see kids coming from all over Evanston. That makes it a better event.”