Unification News for June 2005

SFP Chicago Project at Florence Stout Park

On April 2nd, 2005, roughly twenty volunteers turned out for "Playin’ Around in the Park" at Florence Stout Park, located in the south-side of Chicago. Together, along with the Chicago Park District, volunteers from local schools such as Kenwood Academy, Bass Elementary School, and the University of Illinois at Chicago tackled large mounds of mulch to be dispersed throughout the ¼ acre park. To begin the event, members decided to focus on one Core Value, "Living for the Greater Good", as a group in order to grasp some deeper meaning and other methods of application during the service work. "Living for the Greater Good shouldn't just be coming out once-in-a-while for a service project on a Saturday morning. It can mean so much more than that, like a simple smile to brighten someone’s day, or even lending someone else a helping hand in school," commented 21-year-old Nancy Maketa.

Volunteers were given various tasks such as shoveling mulch from the piles into wheelbarrows to be taken and spread out by others with armed with rakes. After covering the much used playground areas, members took a short break with complimentary pastries and coffee provided by Panera Bread Company and Starbucks Coffee. Having re-fueled on the gratuitous snacks, everyone then proceeded to cover the remainder of the grounds, particularly surrounding trees with the last of the mulch.

As the time approached to conclude the service project, everyone gathered to finish dispersing one last mound of mulch. Once having done that, all gathered to begin the reflection on the day of what was accomplished and what was learned from the event. Most agreed that one of the most fulfilling aspects of this particular project was that they could see the results of their work almost immediately as locals came to enjoy the park while volunteers worked. "A man in the community who has kids, let us know he appreciated it. We helped save the city money on labor; it can now go towards other things," stated UIC senior, Lasandra Hall. Yoshie Toyomura, a 20-year-old full time volunteer offered to carry on living for the greater good in her own life "by always being aware of what other people are going through instead of you just being filled up with your own need." And with this in mind, together, the project was deemed a success.

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