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School is back... and so are we!

After much anticipation, planning, and stress, the first day of school arrived. Outside HPNC, students bounced patiently to have their temperatures checked. Parents and grandparents said their goodbyes on their way to work as students bolted into the building and into a whole new way of starting the school year.

Inside their classrooms they opened their laptops, plugged in their headphones, and found their seats at their own desks spaced six feet away from their friends. Summer camp friends who attend different schools caught up after a week apart and showed off the outfits and matching masks they had picked out for this special day.

When the proverbial bell rang, students joined their classmates from across the city in their virtual classrooms. HPNC's newly upgraded WiFi held strong as onsite teachers helped kids log in or figure out how to calculate a particularly difficult math problem. Privacy screens, healthy snacks, and the occasional brain break helped focus students on their lessons.

We are thrilled with the scenes we saw on our first day of Learning Hub, all of which were made possible through the help of supporters like you. With your generous donations, we were able to purchase new technology, upgrade our internet capacity, and provide scholarships for families who are not able to be home with their children. In a year filled with uncertainty and stress, the students at HPNC count themselves lucky to have the stability and caring space they need to succeed from day one. Thank you!

Thank you, Sarah!

We want to take a moment to thank Sarah Diwan for her many years of service to Hyde Park Neighborhood Club. Sarah has been in the HPNC orbit since 2008 when she rented space for art and music classes. From 2014-2019, Sarah served as the Executive Director of HPNC. Under her direction, the HPNC board grew in size and capacity. Sarah established a focused strategy for the organization that included more independence from government funding and more competitive programs for the areas HPNC serves. Though Sarah is stepping away from her previous role as Development Director, she will remain a part of the HPNC team, reclaiming her title as Director of Early Childhood, which she previously held from 2010-2014. Thank you, Sarah, for your incredible commitment to the mission of HPNC!

...and welcome, Chris!

The new Development Director at HPNC is Chris Younkin-Wilson. Chris brings over five years of development experience and comes to HPNC most recently from the Chicago Architecture Center (formerly Foundation), where he worked on a variety of fundraising initiatives. He is excited to contribute to his community with an organization that clearly has a strong impact in the neighborhood.

Chris and his wife have lived in Hyde Park for just over a year and half and love the green space and neighborly atmosphere they find here. They are expecting twin girls in early November and can't wait for their journey in parenthood to begin!

Celebrating a COVID-free camp!

Our hallways were a little quieter this summer, as HPNC's annual Summer Camp proceeded at 40% capacity. We missed having those extra children and teens around, but it was the right decision to make to keep our families and staff safe. We made it a priority to offer camp to families in need of childcare with few options to turn to. Because of additional cleaning and safety procedures, camp required more resources than ever before despite the lower numbers of participants. Still, we are proud to report that after ten weeks of camp, no cases of COVID were reported from any campers, staff, or families! HPNC makes it a priority to provide high-quality programs that our families need and to keep everyone in our programs safe.

Calling all green thumbs!

The HPNC Garden Committee had their inaugural meeting this past weekend. Committee members include familiar faces, though you may not recognize them behind their masks! From left to right: Julie Spielberger, Laura Staley, Marilyn Cavicchia, Tommy Ingles, Laura Kracke, and Kirsten Akre - all led by our very own Sarah Diwan!

Interested in helping out in the garden? Email Sarah at

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