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May 23 , 2003

Local Teen Mothers and Mount Holyoke Students Team up for Park Clean up

Mount Holyoke students and students from Holyoke's Care Center teamed up May 2 to spruce up Valley Arena Park in Holyoke.

With the help of the Holyoke Youth Task force and in collaboration with the AmeriCorps program, a group of students from Holyoke's Care Center and the College celebrated spring with some spring cleaning May 2. The group pitched in to spruce up Valley Arena Park in Holyoke, a cleanup that was the culmination of a yearlong community participation project sponsored by the Care Center and Mount Holyoke. Designed to engage students in issues affecting their community, the endeavor involved members of Associate Professor of Politics Preston Smith's community development class and a group of young mothers who utilize the Care Center, a multiservice alternative education center that serves more than 120 pregnant and parenting teens.

In the first phase of the project, students conducted a park inventory, resident surveys, research on park budgets, and interviews with city officials and presented their findings and recommendations at a conference held at MHC last spring. "This effort was designed to provide students with hands-on skills that will not only increase their involvement in the community, but will advance their academic skills as well," said project coordinator and Frances Perkins Scholar Irma Medina of the Care Center. The Valley Arena Park project marked the beginning of the second phase of the students' work. They received a grant from the Holyoke Youth Task Force to move forward on the cleanup portion of their plan. The effort was timed to coincide with the eighth annual Holyoke City-Serve Day organized by AmeriCorps.


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