Alternative Spring Break (garden) parties
Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Updated: Sunday, March 20, 2011 18:03
The Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club has a sunnier outlook coming to their meetings these days. The Alternative Spring Break Program of Parkland College, along with the help of the Landscape and Design Program, worked on augmenting the landscape of the facility during March. John Eby-Activities Program Manager from the Office of Student Life-co-advised this spring's community service event along with Kaizad Irani, Program Director for Horticulture in the Business and Agri-Industries. "[Irani] is really the lead on the design of it," Eby said on the aesthetic details of the sweep around the building.
The pair was not alone, however. Flanked by a small army of members from the landscape design program, Parkland's student government, the Muslim Student Association, Club Access, the Boys & Girls Club, and wheelbarrows full of gardening materials, the Alternative Spring Breakers sallied forth in their mission to plant and prune their way to success.
Tom Caulfield, Director of Student Life, also helped out with this activity. He solicited a number of area businesses, like Rental City and Champaign West Rotary, for sponsorship. According to Eby, plants, forthcoming brickwork materials, and other tools were donated for the project. Eby especially noted that Champaign West Rotary raised money during January for the project. MSA will also donate a portion of their proceeds from their 5K Run for Charity, as well.
Aside from being rained out over half of the time, the team managed to get quite a bit of work done one the last, sunniest day of their service for the facility. "We got out there and we dug in the dirt and we put plants in the ground and actually laid out the design and moved dirt, moved sand, moved mulch.all the good things!" Eby said.
"It was physically challenging but very fun," 18-year-old volunteer Stephanie Yousef said of the event. She did not mind sacrificing her time to help out the Boys & Girls Club and wishes they didn't get rained out. "Working with other people-that was really fun," she added.
Which is what the Alternative Spring Break program is really about. Eby has experienced previous Alternative Spring Breaks at Parkland College and is convinced of their positive effects on all parties involved. "Anytime that a student can demonstrate, or there is evidence that a student has been given responsibility, and has followed through on it and done well, that's a gold star for employers," he said. Eby also mentioned how an activity such as this is also a powerful tool to use on résumés and four-year or graduate program applications and how ASB is something that can benefit the community, too.
This year's Alternative Spring Break is considered a volunteer opportunity, although Irani's Landscape Construction and Management is receiving credit for their work towards the design. According to Eby, Irani's students met in the fall with boys and girls from the Club and worked with their ideas to incorporate into the landscape plans.
The work is not over yet, though. According to Yousef, Irani and his class are still working on the brick inlay for the front pathway of the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club. "I can't wait to see the final product," Yousef said.
Parkland has worked with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has even traveled to Houma Louisiana to work with Habitat for Humanity. Yet, this do-gooder activity is a national affair. Colleges and universities have developed their own projects and documented them via pictures, blogs and are communicating with other ASB veterans online. If you would like to learn more about this phenomenon visit www.alternativebreaks.com.