I Grow Peace Campus
Healing the Hood

In 2014 I Grow Chicago opened the Peace House, a previously abandoned home in West Englewood transformed into a community gathering space. The rehabilitation of the house has created economic opportunity, job and life skills training, and a new sense of hope for residents.

The Peace House has come to embody and enable the neighborhood. The house now facilitates a tremendous variety of programs to support the neighborhood, including:

  • After school programs – tutoring, fitness, and art

  • Adult education including resume workshops and job training

  • Short term child care for parents on interviews

  • Women’s support group

  • Summer camp

  • Urban farming

  • Community dinners and food pantry

  • Basketball

Making No Small Plans

When Robbin Carroll started I Grow she was unsure about how to get her house approved for permitting — so she asked our own Tom Jacobs. Since our first charrette and community meeting with the residents, we have worked hand-in-hand with Robin and her team, helping to turn the community's plans from dream to reality.


I Grow has expanded from one house to a campus — with plans for continued growth. 

What began as an initial vision of creating a community home and a safe space, off the streets, for the residents of the block to gather, has become a model to combat violence and poverty, with programs led by residents.

Safety at Play
Above and beyond having space where kids can play and grow freely, the community's main concern is an environment that is safe.


With advice and encouragement from the Chicago Children's Museum and their experts in learning and play, the goal for I Grow's new playground is to provide an environment for Natural Play — a space where kids are encouraged to be creative and set their own challenges and goals. Interacting intimately with natural elements.

  • Our playground concept provides a continuous circulatory path that separates smaller play zones, each of which will be flexibly developed based on different play activities, age groups, and the opportunities provided by donated materials.