Last September, ProAct coordinated a day of service for 400 boys and girls from Shortridge High School and over 100 employees from Eli Lilly and Company as part of Indy Do Day. Together, we built two peace parks, an outdoor classroom, and installed a brand new playground at a local Boys and Girls Club. It was truly a day worth remembering as joy was personified and our mission was realized.
One of the Peace Parks we created on Indy Do Day was located at Charles W. Fairbanks Elementary School IPS #105 in which volunteers and students designed and installed a labyrinth and gave the school’s playground and outdoor classroom a face lift. The work conducted on this day left a lasting impression on participants from Eli Lilly and Company and the school communities of Charles Fairbanks Elementary and Shortridge High. That was until all the hard work that went into creating the park was minimized by people who vandalized the placemaking project.
While conducting a site visit at Charles W. Fairbanks Elementary School this past spring to lay the groundwork for
our service-learning programs being hosted at the school this fall, Julie and I learned about the vandalism and were determined to rectify and revitalize the project over the summer break so children attending the school this fall could see the project was fixed.
Julie banded together two great groups of volunteers to get this project reinstated before the school year began.
The first group was comprised of five boys who gave up an afternoon out of their summer break to assist in the project’s revitalization. Working with John Ridder of Paxworks, the small group of boys re-laid the bricks in the labyrinth path and began putting in gravel that would set the bricks in place permanently.
The Friday after school was in session, nine volunteers came out to complete the gravel installation to complete the project. The labyrinth is looking as good as it did on the first day it was installed.
As I think of the hard work that went into installing and creating this labyrinth and peace park, when I found out that it was vandalized, I have to admit, I was devastated and discouraged, but I was quickly reminded by Julie that there is always treasure in ruins. Julie inspired me by taking up the initiative herself to get this project back up to our organizational standards.
I’m proud to have Julie on my team and even more proud that these kids and community members stepped up to serve their community in a time of need. It is my hope that this story inspires you, too. The power our of community and teamwork truly does inspire perseverance, commitment, and follow through.
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