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North Park Springs into Action on Community Service Day

North Park University Students Spring into Action for Third Annual Community Service Day

CHICAGO, IL (May 3, 2010) – The entire North Park University football team kicked off the school’s third annual Community Service Day when they planted flowers and other shrubs along three heavily traveled streets in Albany Park, Foster, Montrose, and Lawrence Avenues.

They were among 350 people who worked to improve the neighborhood through activities that ranged from picking up trash to painting murals. Most people arrived between 8:45 and 9:00 a.m. for breakfast supplied by local eatery Merla’s Kitchen and then left by 9:30 a.m. for their sites across Albany Park and the north side of the city. The football team was already hard at work, having started at 8:00 a.m.

“The day was a great relationship-building and bonding experience for participants as well as helpful to our Albany Park neighborhood,” said Rich Johnson, director of University Ministries (UMin).

“It was great to see so many people from across campus coming out to live out the university’s commitment to service,” said Tony Zamble, Urban Outreach Coordinator for UMin and organizer of the event.

Seminary student Sarah Robinson led a group of volunteers to Winnemac Park, where they removed an invasive species of thistle that is threatening an area set aside for the growth of native plants.

Sixteen volunteers in canoes cleaned a portion of the north branch of the Chicago River. They pulled out garbage that included a shopping cart, bicycles, a toilet, and numerous bottles and cans. Library Director Sally Anderson and Professor John Hjelm were the site leaders.

Professor Tim Lowly led a team of students who painted a mural on one of the walls outside of the Carlson Tower building. Dean of Students Andrea Nevels worked in Swedish Covenant Hospital, Peterson Elementary School, several area parks, Foster Avenue Beach, Cornerstone Community Outreach, as well as other organizations.

Not all of the volunteers were connected with North Park. Ten Walgreens employees joined the effort and donated bottled water. All of the workers returned to the school at 12:30 p.m. for lunch and to receive t-shirts and cloth grocery bags donated by Trader Joe’s.

“This is always one of my favorite campus-wide events,” Johnson said. “We see students, faculty, and staff coming together to serve our community. It has been great to see Community Service Day grow every year.”