Let the Good Times Roll

Midtown Center alumni from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s gathered for a festive 50th anniversary reunion with family members, MEF and Midtown staff on Saturday, July 18 at the original home of the Midtown Center for boys on Loomis & Lexington in Little Italy.

The alums reminisced while watching period photos from “the good old days” as they played sports, developed friendships and learned new skills in photography, electronics and auto mechanics.

Pizza from Pompeii was a must for lunch, since many of men remembered heading to the Pompeii Bakery, then on Loomis, for a slice.

Joe Major, the first full-time employee of Midtown Center, flew in from Boston for the reunion. Art Thelen, Midtown Center director from 1983 thru 1995, also was on hand. Both were instrumental in shaping the future of the Midtown Center in those early years. Art also helped to secure the funding that led to the opening of the Metro Achievement Center for girls in 1985.

Another highlight – Kelly Wright, a distinguished broadcast journalist with the Fox News Channel in New York, interviewed Joe, Art and Al Castaneda, a 1975 Midtown alum, for a special feature on Midtown that will air on Saturday, July 25. He had spent the previous day at the “new” Midtown Center for boys in Bucktown, interviewing students, staff, advisors and parents for the special. 

Midtown has always been a special place for Chicago’s urban youth over the past five decades.  Alumni are encouraged to let the good times roll by joining the Midtown Alumni Network. Learn more here.

A brief overview of MEF programs and mission, followed by a slideshow of pictures from the early days of Midtown Center for Boys that played at the Alumni Reunion on July 18, 2015.