Don’t miss the Don’t Sleep Back to School Block Party

Published 11:41 am Thursday, July 27, 2023


School is starting soon, and you know what that means.

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Don’t Sleep Inc. is hosting its Back to School Block Party from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday at Millennium Park.

“It is going to be epic. We are going to be taking over the park.” said Don’t Sleep Vice President Adrian Ogle. “We will have bouncy houses, games, barbecue, vendors, giveaways, music and an unreal amount of giveaways. It is a last hurrah for the kids before the end of summer. It is a big event, we are proud of it. We encourage kids and adults to come.”

President of Don’t Sleep, Ra’shea Ford, expects 3,000 to 5,000 people to be in attendance.

“Last year we had people from Memphis, Minnesota, Phoenix,” Ford said. “A lot of people see it on social media and come from all over.”

Ford founded Don’t Sleep Inc. in 2011 to encourage people to help their communities.

“I called it Don’t Sleep because I don’t want people to say ‘well it is not in my house’ when they see a problem in their neighborhood,” Ford said. “Now I want you to say ‘I’m not going to sleep on that situation.’ ”

Alongside helping organize events like the block party, Don’t Sleep works with the schools to help provide activities for children, provides clothing for donation, backpack giveaways and more.

“I want to make this block party as big as it is because a lot of kids like me when I was growing up don’t get to take a summer vacation,” Ford said. “I won’t kids to be able to look back and say wow that was a good day. They can come out here playuu all day, eat, win gifts.”

The block party helps spread information about resources and activities available in the community.

“It gives people the resources and time to learn everything going on in the community,” Ford said. “We have resources on activities for kids, mental health resources. For parents we have things like helping with rent, utility bills, We even teach people about Narcan so they can have it in case they see something on the street. We have a lot of different arts that come out, like dancing poetry. We want to help kids learn there is a lot of different things for them to do besides playing games or sports.”