ASU's ASPIRE Youth Give Back by Beautifying a Park.
Middle and high school students enrolled in Alabama State University's A.S.P.I.R.E. Program lend a helping-hand to the city (photo credit: David Campbell/ASU).
ASU's ASPIRE Program's Youth Clean-up & Beautify a Montgomery Park!
By: Kenneth Mullinax/ASU.
A group of Montgomery middle and high school students who are enrolled in Alabama State University's A.S.P.I.R.E. Program recently put the value of CommUniversity into action by volunteering their time to work together and help beautify and clean-up one of Montgomery's more visible public parks.
"Our young A.S.P.I.R.E. students desired to give back something positive to Montgomery and agreed to volunteer a day of labor to the city's Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) by doing a series of tasks that ultimately cleaned-up and enhanced the beauty of Vaughn Road Park," said Cynthia Handy, the program's director and founder. "We had approximately 25 students go to the park with me and other adult chaperones and put in a fun day of picking up limbs and leaves, working in flower beds and even breaking up old concrete paving stones."
She explained that A.S.P.I.R.E. stands for "Amazing Students Putting In Resilient Efforts" and the ASU sponsored after-school and summer program is for local middle and high school students. It has as its goal to teach them study tools and related educational goals, provide tutoring in a myriad of educational subjects, teach social skills, self-awareness; as well as have fun field trips and encourage them to give back to their community, which is just what they did at Vaughn Road Park.
Joseph Dorsey is PARD's district supervisor who worked with Handy to organize the student's day of giving back.
"ASU's A.S.P.I.R.E. kids came into Vaughn Park and did improvements on our trees, flowers, picked-up loose trash, did lots of clean-up work and the young men even tore out dilapidated brick pavers with sledge hammers and other tools," Dorsey said.
The PARD supervisor stated that the young students did such a good job with a cheerful attitude that the city would welcome their assistance and aid anytime they are willing to pitch-in and help.
"Our director, Kay McCreery, has been a major force in encouraging and supporting our youth initiative and outreach that allows children like Alabama State University's A.S.P.I.R.E. students to both help the city and have a positive experience in doing so," Dorsey said. "They did such a good job and had such a great attitude that we would welcome them back at any time. Heck, some were so good that we would hire them for full-time positions if they were of age," he quipped.
The ASU program's director said the entire purpose of the program is to lift-up Montgomery's youth through positive interactions in programs like the clean-up at Vaughn Road Park that allows them to earn positive praise; as well as enhancing their educations through personal mentorships, study halls and counseling from ASU's students, faculty and A.S.P.I.R.E. staff; so they will graduate from high school, stay out of trouble and attend a college.
"The ultimate goal of our ASU based program is to empower these middle and high school students so they will have a brighter future," Handy said with a smile.
To learn more about the University's A.S.P.I.R.E. Program, visit its home page at www.asuaspire.com.
News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.