EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT

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Outreach Weekend, Spring 1998 #3

April 24-25

Computer Fun Day at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church

Friday: Raja and Deanna set up computers brought down from the eslarp computer lab as well as a printer and scanner. We also checked out the computers that were already there. They were moved into a room that only has one outlet, so we had to run extension cords for the computers and we couldn't set them all up in the same room. Raja got addicted to the game spin doctor while learning all of the games so he could show the kids how to play.

Saturday: We finished getting the computers ready and learning the games. I made up a Certificate of Merit to hand out to the kids for participating in Computer Fun Day. The kids trickled in throughout the day. Their ages ranged from 4-15. Their favorite activities included playing a game called Hungry Frog Math and creating and printing pictures using Kid Pix. We made a bulletin board with all of their artwork. For the first few kids that came in, we had to teach them everything from navigating with the mouse and double clicking to how to open games and print. These kids taught others and did a great job doing so. We also had fun singing, dancing, playing basketball and jump roping with the kids at the end of the day.

Landsdowne Trash Pick-up

Friday: On April 24th, 14 volunteers from the Urban Planning 247/378 workshop course assisted Operation New Spirit and Fairlawn residents with the clean-up of two lots that were overgrown with trash and weeds. The all-day clearance resulted in over fifty bags of trash being removed from the site, the removal of an old broken-down fence, and the mowing of the two lots. This clean-up was just one of several that ESLARP volunteers are involved in each year and also just one on a long list of Operation New Spirit's beautification efforts.

We were really only suppose to clean up one lot, but we tore through that first lot in hours. By the end of the day somewhere around 6 or 7 lots had been cleaned. Only three of the lots were really bad. The rest only needed small trash pick up, here and there. I asked the lady that was working with us about this sight and she said that it had been this way for at least three years, but probably a whole lot longer. It was a terrible sight with more dirty diapers and decomposed clothing than I ever care to see again. All of this and this sight was right across the street from Mile Davis Elementary school. One of three bad sights was were a house had fallen down and there were literally tons of left overs for us to pick up and haul the corner. One kid even said that there was probably an entire car in pieces on this sight. When all of the trees were weeded, garbage picked up and the lots were mowed, we were finished. I took the group to the Dunham and continued working on the asphalt removal with my crew.

Farmerís Market Rehab.

Friday: Brian Orland and Tom Shields worked at the Farmerís Market on Friday with nine volunteers from VIP and Sociology 299. Tom worked with the students who were painting the awning above the market. The painting went well in the sunny beautiful weather. Four students painted almost the entire awning. But were prohibited from painting on the corner where a car had run into and dislodged a support post (safety concerns).

Meanwhile, Brian supervised half of the volunteers to plant trees, shrubs and bushes in the beds around the market. Overall they planted over 100 trees and shrubs. Unfortunately, we faced a pending crisis when we could not turn the water on - a necessary element for this newly painted shrubbery. So Eric Bosman and James Jones attempted to bring water to the market in 50 and 200 gallon garbage pails, but we were stymied in our quest for water when pails of water spilled out - first in the van and later in the middle of the market. James Perry arrived with the keys to the bathroom, but unfortunately, the lock would not open. Together, he and Tom Shields could not cut the lock with the large bolt cutters. Dejected, Eric and James continued the process of carrying the garbage pails of water to the market. Then, when all was thought lost, when UP247 student Ken Galton arrived. He picked up the bolt cutters mumbling something about needing to get into the bathroom. Within minutes, he returned with the broken lock which James Perry and Tom Shields together could not open. We had water. So did half of Veronica Avenue, of course, since the water leaked terribly, until it was fixed (temporarily) the next day.

Saturday: In the morning, a small crew of five volunteers led by Mike Andrejasich loaded the stands from the WIPNO garage into Mikeís truck and unloaded them at the market. In the afternoon, a smaller group put up the bins, placed them in the correct locations and started securing them to the ground. This was a toiling job because I had a terrible cold since Thursday night. For some odd reason, it was easier to pick up trash in Landsdowne than to move around and build these stands. After a long day of drilling together parts, I got to drill into the concrete and secure the bins. This was pretty cool until the drill started to fry. By the end of the day, it was dead but the stands were bolted into the ground.

Dunham Museum Site Preparation

Friday & Saturday: Volunteers at the Dunham led by Craig Miller, Mike Leonard, Paul Foppe, Yong Wook and Ken Reardon used two jack hammers to break up and remove a third of the asphalt behind the Dunham Museum. This herculean task alone would have been a significant feat, if not for the fact that volunteers also cleaned the Dunham grounds, and cleaned inside the museum.

Our own Yong Wook had his first experience with a weed wacker: "I stayed at Dunham museum. I did weed trimming all friday. It was first time I used a weed wacker ever in my life. Ö Saturday, I did weed trimming and I went to farmer's market and did painting. I had kind of weed mania since when I was driving down to Champaign, I saw a lot of weeds and I really wanted to cut those off. I could not stop thinking about cutting weeds."

Survey

Saturday: On April 25th, 12 volunteers from the Urban Planning 247/378 workshop course conducted a survey in South End and Alta Sita neighborhoods. The survey, created by Development Strategies Inc., of St. Louis was used to gauge the need for neighborhood services to support new housing developments. Despite a little early morning rain, the students collected 147 surveys and got the opportunity to meet some great residents who had a lot to share! The survey is part of the larger East St. Louis Public Housing Authority and the Kriegsfeld Corporation's initiative to site new housing developments in a few East St. Louis neighborhoods. The students in UP 247 will be recommending neighborhoods most suitable for new housing based on the 17 criteria they developed. The recommendations will come during the May 13th SNAP`98 program.

Operation Baggit

Saturday: six volunteers participated in St. Clair Countyís Operation Baggit through Operation New Spirit. Students were led by NTAC director Damon Smith to clear trash along between 58th and 86th Streets on MaryBelle Avenue. Despite inclement weather in the morning, volunteers bagged about sixty bags of garbage from this main thoroughfare.

NTAC Computer Networking

Friday & Saturday: Computer experts Abhijeet Chavan and Varkki George set up a Windows NT Compter Network at our very own NTAC (Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center).

More images from the Outreach Weekend.

 

Document author(s) : Tom Sheilds
Last modified: 11 May 1998, Deanna Koenigs

EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT