‘HOPE’ing for Sod


Site of Project HOPE Teen Center

Site of Project HOPE Teen Center

HOPE Coalition members updated recent activities during their monthly meeting, April 20th.  Angel Madrid reported that the Lamar Police Department is working to develop a police cadet organization among interested students.  Several officers have met with HOPE staff to see if Saturday sessions would work, along with creating an obstacle course for students to use at the Lincoln School.  The video, “The Truth About Drugs” was shown for several students, some of whom brought the CD home to share with families.

On a related note, Madrid said she has spoken with Lamar Municipal Court Judge, Kim Verhoeff, to see how the state’s marijuana tax funding could assist youngsters who have appeared before Verhoeff for drug use.  At least ten students have recently been charged with some form of pot use and Madrid felt they could benefit from being directed into the Center’s Why Try program which helps to educate teens and pre-teens on drug usage and foster ways to resist peer pressure to use drugs.  A meeting in early May has been set to discuss a program.

Susan Portner said the One Step Up students had an amazing time with the Lamar Merchants Spring Fling event this past Friday, April 17.  Portner remarked on how some students have become more confident and assertive over the past two years when talking about issues such as downtown beautification, abandoned houses, their community garden and other projects.  Students sold baked goods and lemonade to raise funds for several doggy doo-doo stations to use at Willow Creek Park and to help pay for sod at the Lincoln School playground.  “We had a square of sod on display, but it was surprising to see that some students didn’t recognize it.  Several of them just kept on touching or stroking the grass,” she explained.  HOPE Director, Lori Hammer, told the Coalition that Dr. James Smith, general surgeon at Prowers Medical Center, has offered to donate funds to sod the former playground for the students, but Lamar School Superintendent, David Tecklenburg needed to approve the project because of maintenance and irrigation costs.  Portner said several students had written letters describing how hard it was playing on sandy soil and rocks.  Hammer said the soil needs rejuvenating as it has deteriorated to a poor quality over the past several years.

Hammer reported that the HOPE Center Helping Hands clothing project is flourishing.  “We’ve had from 30 to 50 persons each Saturday we’re open and a lot of clothes are coming in and going out.”  A school classroom has been converted to a clothing display area where residents can come and select needed apparel on the third Saturday of the month from 9am to 11am.  “We’ve received some other items from the Lamar Lions with their VA project at Ft. Lyons in Las Animas.  Sometimes they’ll get items they can’t use such as a baby stroller and they’ll bring it here.”  Volunteers are welcome to drop by on Fridays and help fold and sort the clothes which will go on display.

Byron Hall said he and his students will set up a bike and skateboard repair shop at the new Healthy Places headquarters at the East Olive and Main Street intersection.  “We’ll use an office to repair bikes, but right now, we’ve run short and we need more bikes.  “We intend to run this like a commercial business, repairing simple items like flat tires and only charge a few dollars.  We’ll buy more parts with the proceeds,” he explained.  He said the Lamar Police Department can donate unclaimed bikes, but it takes six months before they can be released.  They’re going to ask the city clean up crews to separate any bikes that are picked up during Lamar Clean Up Day on May 2 and see how many can be used for parts or be repaired.  Some skateboard parties are being planned for Bicentennial Park this summer using donations from some skateboard companies.

Kite Day will be Saturday, April 25, from 12:30pm to 4pm at Escondido Park off the north end of 14th Street.  “We’ll have a free BBQ that afternoon with donations from Thriftway, the Lamar Eagles and Rainbow hamburger and hot dog buns.  LiveWell is donating water and chips and we’ll have an archery and hula hoop contest using donations from the Whammo Company,” he said, adding that any volunteers who could help in any way would be appreciated.

Several donations were noted from the area including $100 from Living Covenant Missionaries, $500 from tips received in March from Brew Unto Others and $250 from Laureate RHO for tutoring.  Approximately $300 was raised for the doggy doo doo stations during Bark in the Park on Saturday.  The funds will be used to purchase six stations and the Lamar Parks and Recreation Department is also buying another six stations for use.  New bathroom facilities are being installed at the North Side Park .

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: CitycommunityEducationEntertainmentFeaturedLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyRecreationSchoolYouth


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