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National Night Out promotes community solidarity

Published: Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013 9:48 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 12:40 a.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
Kelley Kozlowski (left) and Katelyn Foehner explore the inside of a police squad car during Carol Stream's 2009 National Night Out.

CAROL STREAM – Neighbors in Carol Stream and across the nation are invited to join forces for the 30th annual National Night Out on Tuesday.

The crime- and drug-prevention event provides an opportunity for residents to spend a summer evening outside socializing with fellow community members and police.

“It’s a great little community event,” Carol Stream Social Services Director Mindi Thomas said.

Introduced by the National Association of Town Watch, “America’s Night Out Against Crime” began as an effort to promote involvement in crime-prevention activities, police and community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie and to send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

The first National Night Out was Aug. 7, 1984. A total of 2.5 million Americans across 400 communities in 23 states participated.

Now, the event has more than 37 million participants, hailing from 15,000 communities, including every state, as well as U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases.

What began as a “Lights On” campaign that involved symbolic front porch vigils has turned into a celebration that consists of block parties, cookouts, parades, rallies, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits, youth events and safety demonstrations and seminars intended to heighten awareness and enhance community relations.

Carol Stream residents will celebrate National Night Out with a barbecue at Community Park, at the east end of Thornhill Drive.

Sponsored by the Outreach Community Center and Our Savior Lutheran Church, in conjunction with the Carol Stream Police Department, this year’s festivities begin at 6 p.m. and continue until dusk. Activities include an obstacle course, moonwalk, disc jockey, door prizes and food.

“The goal is to have people come out to interact with their neighbors, the Outreach Community Center and the Carol Stream police and fire departments,” said Carol Stream Police Officer Tom Eby, who has been planning the event for four years.

Commonwealth Edison will be on site to provide power-saving tips, and the Carol Stream Public Library will distribute information about its services. The Illinois Central Bus Company will accept applications, and the Carol Stream Social Services Department will provide temporary tattoos for children.

For information, call the Outreach Community Center at 630-260-7600.

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