Page 1

Waukegan Latinos & the Outdoors LEAVE NO CHILD INSIDE

Research findings Summary for

July 22, 2011



To discover individual and systemic barriers that are preventing Hispanics in Waukegan to participate in outdoor activities and programs


Develop bridges and build an emotional connection between our local community and the outdoors that lead to greater knowledge and use of Waukegan’s natural resources among Latinos


Week-long research visit in Waukegan (May 2011)


Interviews with 8 community leaders working directly with Latino families


25 in-depth interviews with Latina moms living in Waukegan

RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS Eight individuals whose organizations serve Hispanic families in Waukegan were interviewed to share their observations of resources and barriers facing their constituents.

Name Mayor’s Office

Susana Figueroa, Community Liaison

Waukegan Schools Welcome Center

Martha Padilla, Center Coordinator

Nuestra SeĂąora de Guadalupe

Olivia Diaz, Community Outreach Director

First Baptist Church

Barbara Waller, Associate Pastor

Holy Family Food Pantry

Barb Karacic, Services Director

WAYS Soccer League

Jorge Figueroa, Board of Directors

Latino Coalition of Lake County

Carolina Herrera, President

Waukegan Park District

Mike Mayfield, Recreation Supervisor

RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS LATINA MOTHERS Twenty-five Latina mothers were recruited through the assistance of two local churches, The Waukegan Public Library, and the Mayor’s Office Community Liaison. The graph below outlines participant characteristics. n (%) Average Age

40 yrs

Nationality Mexico

21 (84%)


2 (8%)


1 (4%)



Average Yrs in US

20 yrs

% of Life in the US


Ave Monthly Income


Avg Household Size

4 people

Marital Status Married/Living with partner

18 (72%)


5 (20%)


2 ( 8%)

ETHNOGRAPHIC SNAPSHOT JOSEFINA MORALES The following ethnographic snapshot is a fictional account inspired by the twenty-five interviews conducted with Latina moms in Waukegan. It provides a glimpse into the lived experiences of Hispanic families. Hola, my name is Josefina Morales – happy to meet you. Let me tell you a little about my family, I am originally from Mexico; our family came to the United States in the early 90’s and we settled in the south side of Waukegan. My husband, Esteban, and I have three children. They’ve grown up so fast - there’s Jorge who is 15 years old, Letty who is 11 and Little Anthony, who just turned 8. When it comes to our daily lives my family depends on me to get them going. Uyyy my day starts early, I wake up around 5 in the morning to prepare breakfast and get the kids ready for school. After seeing them off, I run errands until it’s time to start dinner- I like, me gusta, to make their favorite, especially after a long day.. Los niños come back from school and want to head out and play. The 2 smaller ones play in the yard for about an hour, ayy it takes a lot to get them to come back in. The oldest likes to watch TV or go on the computer, once in a while his friends will come over to play basketball. But I have to keep my eyes on them, all of them, tu sabes I’m very protective and want to make sure they’re ok that’s why I like them to stay in the yard. Don’t get me wrong my neighborhood is nice and all, but a while back it used to be really dangerous- there with these gangeros, you know the gangs around all the time and then I heard that immigration was checking papers, some new laws out there, but what can you do. Now where was I…Oh that’s right – well the rest of our evening is normally dedicated to homework and dinner, I try to help them with their homework pero, well sometimes I have a hard time with Jorge’s studies, it’s hard to understand. During the week we try to go to the park, well at least when it’s summer – you have to take advantage of the weather – Esteban likes taking the kids on bicycle rides or to a nearby park. The kids are also enrolled in afterschool programs, normally in the summer I like to have the small ones participate in a local garden by the church or go to the free lunch program at Holy family, in the winter I hear many kids play indoor soccer, but my husband drives the car to work so I can’t really take them to the practices. At school they like to join the sports teams, but sometimes we just can’t afford it, especially because we have three children and like el Viejo, the hubby, says, other priorities have to come first. When they do play, they love soccer and track and field, I had them do Tae Kwan Do once but can’t afford it anymore; maybe I’ll put them back in the future. En los fines, the weekends, we normally get all the family together and go to Belvidere Park, for a bbq and then we play volleyball as a family. During the summer we can’t afford camps, and honestly my husband doesn’t trust them, but we enjoy the lake. I don’t like going in the water, ayy no I don’t know how those kids do it – the water is freezing… For a special treat we go as a family to Great America, hopefully next year we will get season passes. My comadre, Susana is always talking about getting coupons online, we have a computer but don’t really use it, and then we had internet on my cell phone but it cost too much so we took it off, I never really used it. I like being outside, the outdoors they call it here. It’s relaxing and allows you to escape all your stress… you can breathe fresh air – you know. I heard on TV that going outside can help your kids academically… hmm honestly no se, I’m not sure how… I think the biggest reason why it’s hard to go outside is because of time…and also the ganas, the wanting to do so. I’m not too aware of any programs that provide activities, at least ones that don’t cost so much, and the ones I do have information on I learn about through my church or my kid’s school. Ayy mira la hora que es, look at the time… I gotta get going… so much to do. It was nice talking to you, till next time – goodbye.

To see the video please visit culturalstrategies/lnci Password: LNCi

RESEARCH FINDINGS “AL AIRE LIBRE” – “THE OUTDOORS” Our twenty-five participants were asked to share what first came to mind when they heard the term “ Al Aire Libre” or “Outdoors”. Their answers point to three particular themes: The Outdoors as an activity: To go outside Be at the park Be out in the yard/ Fixing the yard Going to the beach Visiting a family member Washing the car BBQs

Psychological Dimension: To be thinking/pondering Nostalgic Going far away mentally Outdoors as a remedy to depression

Liberating Quality: Far from traffic Far from contamination Be able to run, without danger Fresh air - “It’s something healthy” “Playing in the yard” was commonly mentioned, using the spanglish word “yarda.” The use of this specific term, tells us that this activity is something that they are adopting while living in the US.

BENEFITS OF THE OUTDOORS Latina moms identified the following benefits of being outdoors: ! 

Children are happy




Better health, breath fresh air


Exercise ! 

Run, climb trees


Stress management/relaxing


Academically: Mixed answers ! 

Create motivation for children


Do not see a connection to increasing achievement

RESEARCH FINDINGS TIME OUTDOORS Outdoor activity among our participants and their families was reported as follows: ! 


Weekdays ! 

Child engage in unstructured play 1-2 hours per day in the Yard


Organized sports: After-school Programs ! 

Soccer, swimming, volleyball


Indoor soccer in the winter

Weekend ! 

Organized Sports Games


Local parks near home






Park at the Church



Mothers as managers ! 

Control weekday afternoon play


Coordinate organized activities (registration/taking children to practice)

Dads take children out for “unstructured play” ! 

(e.g. park bicycle ride)


Dad involved in soccer


Dad as authoritative voice


Traditional route tends to only target moms, but LNCI ought to work with dads to encourage further participation in outdoor activities with their children


Video games not reported as a competing barrier ! 

Restricted play


Children prefer to go outside


Greater use of video games among older children


Internet usage varies, but rather low


Little to no use of internet phones


While mothers reported that these technologies are not major barriers, further research that involves going to into the homes may provide further insights into this relationship


“ The older kids need to be motivated but younger kids need to be dragged in (from outside)”


Outdoor as tool to get them to finish homework


South Waukegan

Higher socio-economic status Less isolated Greater access/use of outdoors Working moms with less time

Lower socio-economic status Greater Isolation More fear of violence Parks feel less safe Greater language barriers


RESEARCH FINDINGS EXPERIENCING THE OUTDOORS: WAUKEGAN PARKS Activities Performed at the parks: "  Family BBQs "  Walking "  Watching the children play "  Play sports with family members (volleyball, kickball, soccer)


Belvidere was the most commonly mentioned park, identified as the one most frequented by Latino families


Bowen Park was the second most frequently mentioned, identified as an attraction because of the water spouts



Less Commonly mentioned: " 

Extreme Biking- BMX

"  Bow and range camp "  Cool Summer Experience

Field Trips/Camps: "  Recommendation from a trusted source is key "  Need to know the leaders/organizers "  Dads need to agree/give permission

RESEARCH FINDINGS EXPERIENCING THE OUTDOORS: GOING TO THE MALL "  Belvidere Mall "  7 Mile Fair, Wisconsin "  Gurnee Mills Outlet Mall "  These spaces serve as opportunities to interact and inform families

EXPERIENCING THE OUTDOORS: LAKE USE Mixed attitudes regarding the condition of the lake: "  “Lake is what most people like.” "  “The lake is common, but not like it was before… the beach is not kept. It looked like they were cleaning it, but it needs an extra hand.”

EXPERIENCING THE OUTDOORS: BEYOND WAUKEGAN "  Six Flags Great America "  Illinois State Beach " 

Independence Grove Forest Preserve


Wisconsin Dells


Visit family in Wisconsin, Michigan & Indiana

"  Families are not limited to Waukegan all year "  Prior to recession, they sent their kids back to México but now because of the economy they stay home # higher need for activities during that part of the year



•  Time •  Money: As a barrier to participating in organized sports •  Weather

•  Lack of quality bilingual information •  Lack of awareness of benefits of outdoors

“Apart from sports, there are many activities - The Park District… but those activities are more taken advantage of by other ethnic groups.” – Stakeholder

COMMUNITY INSTITUTIONS Soccer League - WAYS "  "  "  "  "  "  " 

Began with 200-300 children After 10 years, have 1,200 $100/season - 4 to 5 months League is more recreational With new sports complex, league will grow Indoor Soccer: 4,000-5,000 people come watch the indoor games Opportunity: Pitch to soccer league for team bonding outside the field through outdoor-oriented activities as a benefit to team performance and unity.

Holy Family Food Pantry "  "  " 


70% clients are Hispanic/ Pantry serves 3,800 Families per year Services include: Lunch Program, Women’s group, Community Garden, Bike Donation Program Also working on having a rooftop garden on a new home they are purchasing across the street from the pantry in partnership with Chicago Botanic Gardens Example of effective organization building trust and relationships with the community

Cool Summer Experience "  " 

Hosted through the First Baptist Church Low-Cost Educational Outdoor Opportunity

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe "  "  " 

Promotoras Program: Health Talks, Nature Walks Zumba Classes Vacation Bible Camp

Waukegan Park District "  "  " 

Key Resource Many programs available Opportunity to expand reach by providing greater language access and actively increase program knowledge

“We need to work more with the youth… the clinics are important, professional athletes teach what to do, what not to do.”


The process of building community, relationships and trust


Utilizes strategies that create advocates for people, neighborhoods and issues


An inclusive and culturally relevant approach that informs, educates and creates stewards for a given cause


Much more than advertising and marketing. While Outreach is one-directional, engagement focuses on creating and sustaining relationships


Assessment – Analyze how communities function and work; learn the landscape of neighborhoods; cultures, traditions & history

Build Capacity – Developing the skills, knowledge and abilities of residents in an effort to create change and to empower them to become leaders and advocates in their own communities

CONNECT Inspire people to take action

Asset Mapping – Highlight the strengths of communities and its residents



Equip them with skills, knowledge & abilities

Create a movement with a unifying message


STRENGTHEN CURRENT PARTNERSHIPS LNCI Members were previously surveyed and they identified the following organizations as past/current partners: Academy of Our Lady Boys and Girls Club Chicago Wilderness Citizens Advisory Group City of Waukegan Community action project COOL Food Pantry Daycare and Preschools DCFS El Puente Latino Family First Center of Lake County First Baptist Church Friends of Ryerson Woods Glenwood Elementary School Greenbelt Cultural Center Holy Family Church Lake County Community Foundation Lake County Forest Preserve Lake County Health Dept- WIC office Lake County United


LAN Latino Coalition Mano a Mano Most Blessed Trinity Parish North Chicago Center for the Arts North Chicago High School Nuestra Se単ora One Hope United Rosalind Franklin university clinic Schuler Foundation St. Martin de Porres The International Latino Cultural Center Waukegan Harbor CAG Waukegan High School Waukegan Park District Waukegan Public Library Waukegan School District Waukegan Township YWCA


LNCI Public


Social Services


DEVELOP NEW PARTNERSHIPS The following list points to a desire to create stronger relationships with religious institutions as well as corporate partners. An example of a potential partnership is to have REI have a Winter Sports equipment drive to collect used items that could be offered either at discount prices to Latinos or donated to institutions serving them so they can distribute them in a variety of ways. Abbott Labs - North Chicago BAMM Bass Pro Shop Boys and Girls Club Chicago Botanical Gardens ChildServ Christ Episcopal Church City Farm College of Lake County Gorter Family Foundation Growing Power Holy Family Church I Have a Dream LA fitness Lake County churches Lake County Health Department

Lake County Soccer Association Main Street Waukegan REI Revival Temple Church Rosalind Franklin University Sign of the Dove Church Trinity International University Vista Walgreens Waukegan Park District Waukegan Public Schools YMCA YWCA ZIP fitness

Private Companies






Social Services


There is an opportunity for us to get involved with the community where Latino Families are already going and informing them about the benefits of the outdoors as well as making them aware of other available activities.


Nature Navigator


Nature ESL classes for Adults


Bilingual Custom Publishing


Educational and Informational Content


Activity Sponsorship/Scholarship • 



Park District


Winter & Other Sports


Citizens are getting involved in keeping up their own neighborhoods.


This could become a city-wide effort led by LNCI and its partners.


We need to keep our eyes and ears open being aware of community needs and turning them into opportunities to engage.


How will the LNCI brand need to transform itself to be more welcoming and relevant to the Latino community?


Many involve finding a new name that is more effective with Spanish speaking audience


Research findings Summary for LEAVE NO CHILD INSIDE July 22, 2011 Develop bridges and build an emotional connection between our local commun...