EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT

[ Update ]

Outreach Weekend Report

October 27-28, 2000

Contents:

Summary:

by Jassen Johnson

ESLARP brought together over 100 volunteers to hit East St. Louis by storm. The volunteers covered 16 sites throughout the area including the development of playground equipment at a child care facility, door-to-door outreach, refurbishing a computer center, clearing several lots, one for the installation of a new educational park, setting up for an environmental fair, and the list goes on!

Martin Woleski's Library Science class was able to survey for the massive computer upgrade for East St. Louis in December, as well as help the NTAC office, the ESLARP office in East St. Louis, install the wiring in their new office space. The UP260 class was able to participate in service learning by visiting a homeless shelter, and the East Side Health Care District, plus the individual class goals of the LIS315 and UP101 class goals. On Saturday all the ESLARP, NTAC,and Washington University volunteers met at Adventures in Motivation during a huge soccer league to have lunch, ref and watch a couple of soccer games, play basketball,and generally socialize with 300+ people.

Reports:

Computer Access Sites

by Paul Adams

From Prairienet's perspective it was a good weekend and a lot was accomplished. The LIS 315 class met with individuals from the four computer lab/public access sites to discuss the details of setting up the labs and deal with issues of hardware and software needs. Prairienet staff met with the potential hosts of those sites (those that will be delivering the training and maintaining the sites) to discuss curriculum needs. On Saturday the class pulled wire for the new NTAC office. It took a lot of hands, some ingenuity, and considerable perseverance but the job was completed. It took an outstanding effort by everyone to complete the wiring of the building in a single afternoon. A big thanks to Professor Andrejasich who hung the makeshift wire trays and for bringing all the tools. We look forward to December when we can install the labs and finish the infrastructure of the NTAC office.

Second Chance Emergency Shelter

by Janni Sorensen

The UP 260 group with the topic of Gender discrimination meet with Ms. Linda Thurston and a social worker at the shelter. Ms. Thurston described the services that the shelter provides to the community and she gave us a tour of the facilities. After the tour student had a chance to ask questions and Ms. Thurston was a very good source of information for the students class project. We did not do a service project at the shelter but Ms. Thurston promised that she would get in touch with NTAC in the spring when she thought she would need us to come back and help put up a fence. All in all the visit to the shelter was a very good experience for the students and what we saw there has given inspiration to many discussions after the visit.

Department of Leisure Studies Adopts Virginia Park

By Bruce Wicks

After a 5 year hiatus the Department of Leisure Studies has rejoined the ESLARP program with a commitment to help maintain Virginia Park at a level that will facilitate greater neighborhood use and involvement. In addition to returning to the park on a regular basis to perform routine maintenance we also hope to begin a series of small improvement projects that will cumulatively make a significant difference to this area of ESL and it's children.

With the help of Outreach Weekend students we had at least four persons working in the park all weekend with blitz of folks late Saturday afternoon. It was quite rewarding to see kids from the neighborhood volunteering as well, as we all know that a neighborhood buy-in will be a key to our success. A huge amount of leaves and debris were cleaned up and the grass was mowed on approximately two acres in the SE corner of the park. Ms. Reeves, a long-time resident and neighborhood organizer, commented that this was the first time a leaf had been raked up in the park that she could remember, and that it looked great. The results of this clean-up should become apparent next spring when the grass will be able to grow vigorously without a heavy covering of leaves and thatch.

A special note of thanks goes out to the Alton Parks and Recreation Department and Rhonda Lewis the Deputy Director, for graciously agreeing to provide and transport a leaf blower, lawn mowers and string trimmers for us to use. Without that power equipment we would have been much less productive. Rhonda and her husband also rolled up their sleeves late Saturday afternoon helped with the clean up! Great job and we sincerely appreciate Alton's willingness to make a difference on Make A Difference Weekend.

I will be working hard over the winter to see how we might be able to secure additional commitments from the park and recreation field to provide assistance and planning out return visits next spring.

WIPNO - Lot beautification near Illinois Avenue Playground

by Janni Sorensen

Saturday morning students meet with Ms. Drake to help clean up two lots with abandoned houses across the street from the playground. The lots were overgrown and there was also a lot of trash that needed to be picked up. Ms. Drake and another woman worked with us all morning and we had a really good time working together. Ms. Drake told us about her family and about the city. It was Ms. Drakes daughters wedding day and we were all very impressed with the dedication she showed to her community by being out there working with us on such a special day for her family. We managed to complete the job and the lots now look much better.

WIPNO - Flyering

by Janni Sorensen

At noon we went to Ms. Carol Perry's home. Ms. Perry had cooked chili for us and over lunch she told us about her organization and why they needed us to help them do outreach in the neighborhood. After lunch we split up in groups of two and went door to door in the neighborhood. Most students reported back that they had had some good experiences being invited into peoples houses and had very good talks with residents who were interested in joining the neighborhood organization. By the end of the day we had collected a long list of names and phone numbers of people that Ms. Perry will be contacting for their next neighborhood meeting.

Parks and Playgrounds

by Varkki George

I worked with a group of ten UP 101 students. On Friday afternoon, we split into two groups. One group worked at Canaday Park in the Emerson Park neighborhood. We worked together with students from EPDC's YouthBuild program in cleaning up the park in general and some planters in particular. Another group worked with Tebogo Schulz and a local volunteer on preparing a playground site at the Community Mission Child Care Center. Students took apart old playground equipment, and cleared and leveled the area around new equipment.

New Beginning Outreach Ministries

by Varkki George

On Saturday, we worked at the New Beginning Outreach Ministries in Centerville. Some students worked with Craig Miller on fixing-up and painting the computer center attached to the church. Others worked with me on completely clearing a lot where a playground is to be built. This lot is approximately 50' x 200' and was completely overgrown. On Friday, another group had cleared about 50% of the lot. We cleared the rest of the lot and generally cleaned up. We were assisted in the morning by about 15 other volunteers from nearby Belleville and Collinsville who were organized by Operation New Spirit.

Selby's team at Neighbor's United for Progress

by Robert Selby

Ben Harber & Kelly O'Conner, from AIAS UIUC, and volunteer Jacqueline Oliver, a freshman in LAS worked with architecture professor ESLARP Chair, Robert Selby's team.

On Friday afternoon, 27 October, we were assigned to work on clearing out weeds and tree trimmings alongside sports fields at behind the headquarters of AIM (Adventures in Motivation) under the supervision of Mr. Stanford Scott.

On Saturday morning, 28 October Selby's team was assigned to work with Neighbor's United for Progress. Our task was to help set up the gymnasium at Dunbar School in the Alta Sita neighborhood for an Environmental Awareness Fair. We worked under the direction of Ms. Rebecca Perkins and other Neighbor's United volunteers. We arranged 12 table pairs (24 tables) into a rectangular arrangement, and placed table covers and skirts on them in Halloween colors on which we placed literature on environmental awareness. Finally we mounted a sign on a corrugated cardboard backing recycled from an empty box (very environmentally friendly) to place on a registration table at the entry to the gym.

At noon, we joined with the rest of the ESLARP teams for lunch at AIM. As we arrived we observed that Tobogo Schultz and other ESLARP volunteers were in a half court basketball game in the gym with local youths. Some of my team got into a pick-up basketball with boys dressed in their handsome AIM team basketball uniforms. These young players had some good moves that impressed the college-aged players.

Later we watched girl's soccer teams at play behind the gym in the outdoor sports fields. They were very good. It was a good opportunity to mingle with local young people, even if we didn't sit down and talk about community building or university life. We did talk about good shots or nice pass!

After lunch our team visited the new location of the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) being fitted with wiring for computer training stations. Working the NTAC site were Paul Adams and Martin Wolske and students from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) and Mike Andrejasich, Director of the School of Architecture.

We then went to Virginia Park in Alta Site to help with leaf removal and grass mowing. We worked with Ms. Sandra Reeves, James Jones, and young people from the neighborhood. It was amazing how many leaves could be removed by dedicated teamwork.

More photos from the weekend.

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Document author(s) : Listed Above
Last modified: 08 November 2000, Deanna Koenigs
EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT