Spotlight . . .


Community - Campus Day of Service

April 5, 2014

On Saturday, April 5th, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign kicked off National Volunteer Week with an inaugural Community-Campus Day of Service. Over 60 students, faculty and staff worked with six community partners on seven projects to complete pre-construction projects, community garden spring preparation projects, flyering in the community, reorganizing classrooms at Tap in Leadership Academy, cataloging choral literature, and preparing a Bee Garden. A big thank you goes out to all who helped on April 5!


Enriching perspectives through community engagement

Outreach Weekend Report - April 18-19, 2008

Weekend Summary

Second Chance Shelter Painting

Marianna Strzelecka
On Friday 18th we continued painting corridors in the Second Chance Shelter (4 students + me). We managed to paint one corridor (double layer - so the old paint does not come through the new color). Painting went fast and after painting the second corridor the following day we ran out of paint. We painted doors instead. Students put a lot of effort to make it look nice, and I believe that the experience of meeting some of residents helped us to care even more.

41st Street Neighborhood Action Group Community Walking Trail

Jonathon Raiche
On April 18-19th, ESLARP volunteers began construction of the Pullman Porter Park Trail. Preparations had been made including the painting of the park sign and marking of the trail with wooden stakes. Friday was spent introducing the volunteers to the project and cleaning the site (actual construction was postponed due to inclement weather). The construction process included the digging out of an approximately 5 in. deep trench that was 5 foot wide using a Bobcat skid-steer machine. As the bobcat driver was excavating and filling the trail with gravel, student volunteers were able to do a number of tasks. The dirt excavated from the trail was placed along the edge of trail and formed into landscaping features along the trail. These mounds were also seeded with grass before we left. The second volunteer task was digging and planting 3 flower beds along the trail. The flowers were purchased Saturday morning and were suggestions from the volunteers based on the Friday site visit. The last main volunteer task was installation of the park sign. The sign was painted on a previous weekend. The group of volunteers was truly amazing. They all stayed flexible and positive the entire weekend despite the weather and we were able to accomplish a decent amount on Saturday. By the end of the weekend some of the students were asking about the possibility of continuing the work on the trail for next year. Willie Beard was around helping on Saturday and the students really enjoyed interacting with her and learning about the neighborhood. I will have photos as soon as I receive them from one of the students.

Concerned Citizens of Precinct 12 Neighborhood Survey

Sang Lee
This weekend four students conducted a door-to-door survey on trash conditions in Precinct 12. The survey was created by Concerned Citizens of Precinct 12 to outreach to community members and identify potential allies and members. Over the course of the weekend the students spoke with and surveyed over 40 Precinct 12 residents. Students commented on the difference of trash and infrastructure conditions within the neighborhood. It was clear that some blocks were more maintained than others, both from residents and the City of East St. Louis. While a couple blocks had new sidewalks and a recently patched street, other blocks had massive potholes, standing vacant and damaged homes, and piles of trash. Most residents responded positively to the survey and said they would be interested in attending meetings at City Hall with other neighborhood residents about these issues.

Eagle's Nest Lot Clean-up

by Abby Harmon
This weekend at Eagle's Nest, we had quite a few projects going on. Two students hand-lettered the remaining text on the Pullman Porter Park sign and clear-coated it so that it could be installed at the park for the 41st Street Neighborhood Action Coalition. Another group of students painted trash cans orange and blue for the Dayton-Wedgewood group to put around the neighborhood. Orange and blue are the colors of the East St. Louis High School. Another group of students worked with Mike Andrejasich to install the permanent Eagle's Nest signs at the corner of State and 51st Street. The signs were painted during the last Outreach Weekend, and they look beautiful! Finally, a larger group of students took on two projects for the weekend. They dug up an area beside the garage, removing the old soil down to six inches and replacing it with new, rich soil so that the area can be used for planting flowers and shrubs. Second, they cut down a huge overgrown area in the lot next to the Eagle's Nest. The students reported that they could see all the way to the lake after the area was cut down, and they were pleased that the view was so much improved after their hard work. After a semester of hard work outside, the grounds at The Eagle's Nest are looking great. And we have plans in the works to design and create a large "Welcome to East St. Louis" sign, and install it in the vacant lot that the students have been cleaning up so that visitors will be discourage in dumping their trash there.

Mayor's Clean-up

Chris Sharkey
This weekend I worked with 13 students on multiple projects around East St. Louis. On Friday afternoon we helped out at the Village Theater - cleaning the building, dusting, vacuuming, and getting ready for the show, The Garden of Eden, which Christina was hosting that night. A group of us also worked organizing the ESLARP tool inventory - straightening tools, beginning a list of everything, and getting rid of old garbage. Saturday's project was yet another Mayor's Cleanup! This one, however; having an added twist - instead of the typical lot cleaning we prepared two flower beds near the City Hall and planted flowers to read "ESL". With the help of more than a dozen residents the project went off without a hitch and we successfully made the streetscapes a little brighter.
  • South End

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