About us
The kids of Chicago have something to say!

Once Upon Our Time Capsule was created to elevate the voices of Chicago’s youth and to let them see themselves as the incredibly special generation of kids that they are – kids who were able to meet the changes and challenges of the pandemic and emerge stronger.

From May-August 2021, Once Upon Our Time Capsule collaborated with forty youth-serving organizations to engage thousands of kids, primarily ages 5-12, from over 70 different communities. With the enthusiastic support of partners, the project reached Chicago’s kids where they live, learn and play, such as schools, summer camps, hospitals, homeless shelters, and residential care for undocumented minors. Approximately 70% of participating children represent Chicago’s BIPOC communities.

On October 27, 2021, at a community-wide celebration, Once Upon Our Time Capsule brought together the individual kids’ time capsules and sealed them into twelve Giant Chicago Time Capsules. These have now been placed with partner institutions, including the Chicago Public Library, Chicago Children’s Theatre, and DuSable Museum of African American History, until they are re-opened by the next generation of elementary-age children in five years.

Stacey Gillett and Stephanie Hodges started Once Upon Our Time Capsule to celebrate Chicago's kids and to foster new ways of building community as the city recovers from the pandemic. Stacey's full time gig is in urban policy; Stephanie's is in tech. They both live in Chicago which they love exploring with their families.
Lead Partners
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Center for Childhood Resilience Logo
Chicago Public Library Logo
Multiple, Inc Logo
My Chi. My Future. Logo
Community Partners
826 CHI
Adler Planetarium
After School Matters
Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago
Carole Robertson Center for Learning
Casa Posada
Chicago Housing Authority
Chicago Park District
Chicago Public Schools Department of Arts Education
Chicago Youth Centers
Children's Museum of Art and Social Justice
Chinese American Social Services
UChicago Medicine - Comer Children's
The duSable Museum
Communities In Schools
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana
Heartland Alliance
Hearts to Art
Hyde Park Art Center
Kipp Chicago Public Schools
The Menta Group
Metropolitan Family Services
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The People's Music School
Primo Center
YWCA Chicago
Financial Supporters
Bloomberg Philanthropies
Chicago Public Library Foundation
Comer Family Foundation
Crown Family Philanthropies
MacArthur Foundation
Polk Bros Foundation
Amy and Derek Gale
Stacey and Gabriel Gillett
Amanda Harrington
John and Ingola Hodges
Will Perkins and Stephanie Hodges
Emily and Joy Hurd
Talia and David Kaden
Beth Kasden
Dana Suskind and John List
Michael A. Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia
Davina and Peter Ogilvie
Sarabeth Berman and Evan Osnos
Carolyn Cox and Sam Perkins
Sarah Lafleur and Chris Schonberger
Nick and Ariele Scodro
Dr. Bradley and Barbara Warady
Chicago Children’s Theatre
Jay Kelly Public Relations
Philip Hodges
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