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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA volunteers team up with Project YES

    Marlene Franco-Campuzano, left, teaches addition and subtraction methods to Eduardo Avila, a second grader at Mission View Elementary School during an aftercare program at Project YES on Thursday afternoon. Project YES (Youth Enrichment Services) aims to provide children in grades K-8 with programs to further their all-around development through education, recreation, and social interaction.
    Marlene Franco-Campuzano, left, teaches addition and subtraction methods to Eduardo Avila, a second grader at Mission View Elementary School during an aftercare program at Project YES on Thursday afternoon. Project YES (Youth Enrichment Services) aims to provide children in grades K-8 with programs to further their all-around development through education, recreation, and social interaction.

    Volunteers for the annual UA Cats in the Community event will be out in force this Saturday in hopes of providing the Tucson Urban League’s after-school tutoring program, Project YES, with more than just a tidying up.

    Everything ranging from grounds cleanup, painting and redoing the computer systems will be worked on, said Holly Altman, director of outreach and community partnerships in the UA’s Office of Community Relations.

    Project YES, (Youth Enrichment Services), 100 W. 37th St., is an organization devoted to providing up to 100 children from kindergarten through eighth grade with programs aimed at aiding their educational, social, recreational and cultural development.

    “”It seems like (Cats in the Community) is able to go in and through the nonprofit, really get to know about the needs of the neighborhood, and we try to address them through the agency on the practical level,”” Altman said.

    According to Altman, the organization chosen as a site for CIC needs to meet certain criteria, such as whether the mission of the non-profit is a good match for the UA and if there’s enough meaningful work for all the volunteers to do.

    “”I think the bottom line is, ‘can we really make a difference?’ for the agency in a way that will really last and stand the test of time,”” she said.

    Altman estimates that there will be between 350 to 400 volunteers working on various projects on Saturday.

    One project CIC will be working on is installing a mural on Project YES’s white walls that surround its playground to help deter vandals who have been tagging the walls with graffiti, said Sister Mary Anne McElmurry, the Project YES program director.

    “”I think if you have a mural on (the wall), (vandals) will think twice for one thing, and it’s just uplifting to see a good mural put out there,”” McElmurry said.

    Fine arts graduate student Jessica Gerlach is part of a team of five UA design students who began working on a design of two mural pieces last October, which were presented to and selected by Outreach to be used in this year’s CIC event.

    “”The kids are really excited about having their whole program transformed. I think it’s going to really make it an exciting environment for (the kids) to learn in and to do well in,”” Gerlach said.

    Even during hard economic times, a significant aspect about CIC is the amount of effort and materials people are willing to put toward making a difference in the community, Altman said.

    “”Something that I think is really significant is that (CIC) is all volunteer time and that all the supplies and materials are either in kind donations and we also get some grants,”” Altman said.

    Members of the Tau Beta Sigma sorority, such as pre-physiology junior Rachel Bennett, volunteered in last year’s CIC event and are returning again this year to lend a hand in projects such as cleanup, trimming trees and painting.

    “”With all the different outreach programs that (Tau Beta Sigma) does within the UA, I think (CIC) really helps build our community and our local environment,”” Bennett said.

    Last year CIC worked with the Primavera Foundation, a nonprofit organization aimed at aiding Tucson’s homeless community.

    For Altman, one of the most fulfilling aspects about working on the CIC project is watching the effects unfold.

    “”Just seeing the transformation happen before your very eyes is really exciting,”” Altman said.

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