Programs & Services for Veterans

speaker_image  Listen to our Veterans Day radio ad.

Chicago Park District & Veterans and Active Military: Serving those who have served.

In the spirit of “serving those who have served,” the Chicago Park District offers new, free sports and arts programs specifically for U.S. veterans and active military personnel, as well as a series of veteran’s resource fairs, this fall and winter at select citywide fieldhouses.

In addition to the new programs, all programs offered by the Chicago Park District are free for active military personnel. Immediate family members receive a 10% discount on program fees. Learn more.

For more information, suggestions or comments about Veterans programs, contact Maribel Mejia of the Chicago Park District at 312.745.2062 or

Veteran of the Month

Howard Wilson is the Chicago Park District’s Veteran of the Month for February 2016.

Howard served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a noncommissioned officer and Logistics Embarkation Specialist. He lost his vision shortly after the Iraqi Campaign. Howard has a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Northeastern Illinois University and has done postgraduate work at Chicago State University in family centered social work. Prior to his eyesight loss he worked as a corporate sales person for Canon, Rico and Xerox Corporation. He is currently an athlete ambassador through the World Sports Chicago organization with Chicago Public Schools.

Howard enrolled in his first judo class at the age of 46 years old, and currently trains four to six days a week at various clubs associated with the Menomonee Judo Club. He is currently ranked second in the country at his weight class of 90 kg. He is a two time twirls team member. He took third (bronze medal) at the Korean world games with the USA team. He is a one-time Pan Am team member. He also holds a third degree brown belt in judo, and is a practitioner in Aikido, as well as Kung Fu and Tai Chi.

Major competition achievements:
2014: Member World Team, Colorado Springs, CO
2014: National Championships for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Reno, NV – Silver, 90 kg
2013:  National Championships for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Virginia Beach, VA – Bronze, 90 kg
2013: Illinois State Judo Championships, Master Division – Bronze, 100 kg
2012: Midwestern Championships, Chicago, IL – Gold, 100 kg
2011: AAU National Judo Championships, Milwaukee, WI – Bronze, +100 kg
2011: Tohkon Classic, Chicago, IL – Senior Novice Gold, +100 kg
2011: Tohkon Classic, Chicago, IL – Masters (40-49) Silver, +100 kg 
Received Tohkon Classic Cup (superior skill & spirit)
2011: Denver Classic – Gold, +100 kg

Operation: Ruck 22
22k Ruck March on Chicago Lakefront Trail
May 27, 2016, 0930-1900
South Shore Cultural Center

Registraion is FREE for veterans, active duty and supporters.
(1) Create and account with the Chicago Park District HERE
2) Contact Chicago Park District staff to complete registration
     Maribel Mejia, 312.745.2062 or
    Adam Tirres, 312.745.1958 or

Hosted by the Chicago Park District and the Ropad Home Program at Rush. Supported by the Jesse Brown VA.
Download the FLYER

World Sport Chicago helps wounded veterans stay active with the Valor Games Midwest, 
a competion designed for wounded veterans.

Our Maribel Meija was interviewed on NBC 5, watch the clip here.

Coming soon:
Veterans Resource Fair
Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St.
February 11, 12-4pm

If you are interested in your organization participating in providing veteran services, or for more information, please contact Maribel Meija at 312.745.2062 or



Veterans Resource Fair 

Left to right:
Will Schmutz, Director, Counsel of   Veteran Affairs;
John Daley, Cook County Board of   Commissioners;
Modie Lavin, Program Facilitator for Veterans, Chicago Park District;
Joe Bazil, Outreach Coordinator, Jesse Brown VA; 
Corey Parr (back row). Program Facilitator, Chicago Park District











The Chicago Park District offers a discount to military families (Oct. 2014)
Valor Games Midwest on CBS Radio Chicago (Aug. 2014)
Veterans programs on Chicago @ Play TV show (Feb. 2014)
Modie Lavin Receives Certificate of Appreciation from Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago (Aug. 2014) - see below


Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago awards Modie Lavin with certificate of appreciation for her commitment and dedication to the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and the Veterans serverd. Congratulations Modie!

Left to right:
Erin Rule-Miller, Manager of Recreation Therapy & Wellness, Jesse Brown VA;
Modie Lavin, Chicago Park District;
Joe Bazil, Director of Outreach, Jesse Brown VA;
Valerie Creedon, Director of OEF/OIF (Afghanistan and Iraq) veterans, Jesse Brown VA