The Kiwanis Club of Evanston has announced the winners of its inaugural “Funville” contest encouraging students to develop ideas that accomplish change.

Aaron Hellman, a junior at Evanston Township High School, received the Robert Heiberger Funville award and Maple Conn, a seventh grade student at Chute Middle School, received the Dr. Robert Storm Funville award.

The contest is based on the premise that innovative, creative ideas can engage people in community building and improvement when they involve something enjoyable –something fun.

Joan Hickman, co-chair of the project, says, “So many competitions that are open to young people require an essay or an academic slant. We wanted to open up their minds to more creative thinking and were delighted with the response.”

Hellman, son of Paula Steiner and David Hellman, proposed a “Trash Bin Shootout” which would transform all trash bins in city parks to a basketball hoop, complete with a backboard. The ‘net’ would be the bin itself.

Additional enhancements in the area would build on the basketball theme. Hellman says, “People have always used trash bins as mini basketball hoops for ages. It would be so fun it might actually encourage people to throw away pieces of trash they seeing lying around.” He will receive the Heiberger award.

Conn, daughter of Dori Conn and Jeff Balch, proposed C.A.B. ( Community Against Bullying) and received the Dr. Robert Storm award.

Maple noted that bullies aren’t fun but learning to deal with them can be.

She proposed that kids sign a C.A.B. contract that will give them the confidence to stop bullies, help victims and feel supported. She noted that the ideas could work at schools or in any community setting. She recommended an improv setup with role playing to help people, particularly kids, know they’re not alone in standing up to bullies.

Event co-chair Stamata Blanas made special mention of the assistance received from David Chan of ETHS. “Our collaboration with the high school and the specific assistance received from Technology Integration Specialist David Chan really helped us increase visibility of Funville among students and brought professionalism to our website and online application”, Blanas said.

Top: ‘Funville’ winners Aaron Hellman and Maple Conn.

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