EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT

[ Update ]

Alternative Spring Break

Colorado State University

March 7-12, 1999

On March 7th, twelve eager Coloradians arrived in East St. Louis for their Alternative Spring Break. On Sunday they recieved an in-depth orientation on East St. Louis by Paul Foppe and Ken Reardon. They then went on a two hour tour of the city that was reportedly "awesome" and "exciting" for the ASB participants. The volunteers, led by Lisa Mansueto, worked at the Christian Activity Center on Monday and Tuesday doing general clean-up work and repairs. According to the students, meeting Chet Cantrel of the CAC and working with the hundreds of eager children was the highlight of their time spent at the CAC. The Christian Activity Center was very gracious in providing a place to stay for ASB participants during this week and next week for volunteers from Middle Tennessee.

Monday morning Colorado State University Students braved over two hours fighting the snow and sleet in Alta Sita to flyer and door knock over 500 homes to invite neighborhood residents to the tuesday night meeting at St. Regis Catholic Church. They would have continued door knocking throughout the remainder of the neigborhood, but they already promised Chet Cantral of the Christian Activity Center that they would be available to him for the after school programs which started at 1 pm.

On Tuesday evening, the volunteers from Colorado attended the Alta Sita Neighbors, Inc. monthly meeting. This meeting was facilitated by the University of Illinois and attended by forty Alta Sita residents. The meeting was high energy and very productive. The volunteers commented that they really enjoyed interacting with residents and that they learned a lot about resident dedication to neighborhood improvement.

Wednesday morning CSU students invested a good three hours in clean up and repair work around the Christian Activity Center. After lunch, they embarked for further festivities and sights throughout the greater St. Louis area.

Wednesday afternoon was a free-day for the volunteers who spent most of the day in St. Louis checking out local attractions.

Thursday morning the volunteers painted and dry-walled at Bride of Christ church in Alta Sita. Lily Prude and Minister Carl were as usual, gracious hosts and referred to the Colorado students as "angels". In the past few weeks, students from U of I, Grand Rapids College and Colorado State have transformed half of the Bride of Christ's basement into a bright and beautiful community space, almost as gorgeous as the rest of Carl and Lily's church.

Thursday afternoon and Friday were spent at the Katherine Dunham Museum. Volunteers were greeted by John Brooks and went on a self-guided tour throughout the museum. Students then worked on painting and cleaning the bathrooms, organizing the basement storage space, picking up trash on the grounds and cleaning the woodwork and glass inside the museum. Students also managed to place and secure the tops to the recently constructed huts behind the Museum using a drill and wire fasteners. It was truly wonderul to work within the opulence of the Dunham museum. The volunteers only wished they had a chance to meet Ms. Dunham.

From the East St. Louis Action Research Project and the residents of East St. Louis, many thanks to all the hardworking volunteers from Colorado State - you were all truly wonderful to work with and we hope to meet again someday soon.

Colorado State University Participants:

Comments from Colorado State Students

Coming Soon: photos from the week.

Document author(s) : Cathy Klump and Paul Foppe
Last modified: 16 March 1999, Deanna Koenigs

EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT