Student nonprofit seeks to connect with North Shore community

Alan Perez, Reporter

Supplies for Dreams will host a carnival June 3 on the Lakefill to allow students to de-stress and make connections with the local community.

Carnival of Dreams will raise money for the nonprofit organization, which aims to address inequity in Chicago Public Schools. Though the carnival is a new event, it signifies a continuous commitment to establishing community relationships, executive director Carolyne Guo, a Weinberg junior, said.

Reena Burt, director of local outreach for SFD, said one of the main goals of the carnival is to spread awareness of the organization’s mission.

“We realize a lot of people at Northwestern have never heard about the organization as a whole,” the SESP freshman said. “The goal of the organization is something that is very wonderful and is really about inspiring kids.”

Attendees can expect carnival games, a bouncy house, an inflatable “jousting rink” and more at the carnival, Burt said. Amanecer Breakfast Tacos, Mediterranean Express and Tomate Fresh Kitchen food trucks will also be on site, Burt said.

SFD was created eight years ago to provide students with resources that may not be currently available to them, Guo said. The organization has also expanded to provide extracurricular resources, such as NU undergraduate mentorships and museum field trips for four Chicago middle schools, she said.

The organization’s centerpiece event was Build-a-Backpack Day, where Evanston and North Shore residents gathered to stuff backpacks with school supplies for students from low-income families, according to the website. However, the group discontinued the annual event and partnered with another organization to more efficiently provide and deliver the supplies, Guo said.

SFD recently expanded and opened a chapter at the University of Chicago. Besides expanding to another school, Guo said SFD hopes to strengthen its relationship with the North Shore community through a new local outreach committee headed by Burt. The carnival, Guo said, targets that goal.

“The more people get to know us, the more they’ll volunteer with the kids, the more they’re aware of the cause and the more action that will happen,” Guo said.

Though the funds raised at the carnival will benefit CPS students, Medill junior Jocelyn Liao said she still hopes that NU students will attend the event.

Many students, she said, have connections in Chicago because they attended CPS. Others may come because they recognize the importance of the nonprofit’s mission and want to support public schools, Liao said.

“We wanted to emphasize the fact that Northwestern can reach out to our local community and give back to the students at Chicago Public Schools,” Liao said. “As college students here, we benefit a lot from this community. Coming to an event like Carnival of Dreams will allow people younger than us to experience the things we have been lucky enough to experience.”

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