OWN, West Center team up for June 27 party

       For many summers, the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) put on its annual picnic, and the West Center for Intergenerational Learning hosted its annual neighborhood block party.
       The two entities are well known to Westsiders who participate in classes and special events or have gotten involved in neighborhood/community issues.
       Both have common goals for building community on the Westside. Yet each was putting on a similar event… separately.
       “We thought, 'This is ridiculous,' said Sallie Clark, who has been with OWN for a number of years.
        So OWN and West Center got together to organize a single picnic/block party each summer. The fourth annual such event is scheduled Sunday, June 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. in Bancroft Park at 24th Street and Colorado Avenue.
        According to Clark and E.D. Rucker, director of the West Center, the combination makes the most of both groups' volunteer capabilities. OWN prepares the food, cooking up hotdogs and hamburgers and serving out soft drinks, while West Center organizes kids' games, such as gunnysack races, pie-eating contests and musical chairs and brings in a patriotic singing group, face-painters and large inflatable bouncers.
       People can potluck if they want to.
       Last year about 300 people came, despite heavy rain for the first hour and a half. Rucker wouldn't be surprised if 350 come this time, if the weather holds.
       “It's just a fun afternoon to create community by having people come together and celebrate the diversity in their neighborhoods,” he said.
       “It's worked out really well,” Clark said. “There are fun things for the kids to do, and there's food. It's a perfect fit between OWN and West Center, one big picnic.”
       For more information, call the West Center at 385-7920 or OWN at 575-9897.

Westside Pioneer Article