The Greatest Among You

A forum for those serving the distressed among us.

Project: Variety Early Learning Center (Las Vegas Inner City)

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This is a write up of a project a good friend of mine was involved in. What an inspiration.

“Team 3’s first project was a simple donation project aimed at improving the educational experience of 30 of Iraq’s school children. The task to choose a second project required identifying the problems that our members were aware of so that our organization would be socially responsible by taking a proactive approach to our community service projects. Team 3’s approach of finding a problem to address, coming up with alternatives, analyzing and comparing solutions to find the best alternative before implementation would ensure that the solution chosen was optimal and provided the most impact.
Again, through e-mail and team meetings, we coordinated scheduling and deadlines. Creating a community service project that is both meaningful and productive can pose a challenge when the amount of choices is considered. A more in-depth approach was taken when our team began to generate ideas for this task. This particular project focused on the gesture of our action. As a group we wanted to center our ideas on issues that would give us a person or group that we could point at and say this is who benefited from or help. Drew Nellen’s work with a fencing company brought him in contact with the director of The Variety Early Learning Center, Miss Ruby Collins, approximately 10 years ago. Drew had always felt a connection with the 53 year old center because of the center’s location in inner city Las Vegas and it’s cause of helping low income parents provide a head start to their children’s education. Recently the center has been trying to bring their toddler playground up to “no-climb code standards” with the health department by installing tan privacy slats. Over the last few months with the help of a state funded organization and their own funds the Variety Early Learning Center has had the tan slats installed around most of the playground. While looking at a fence needing repairs at the center, Drew noticed that there was a 30-foot section of fence that still needed privacy slats installed in order to be compliant with health department standards.

Drew brought in a picture of the fence and made Team 3 aware of the problem being faced by the center. The center is a non-profit organization and relies on donations, grants and reduced tuition fees to pay for its operating costs. The estimated cost to the center if a contractor was called to do the job would be approximately $500.00.

Pictures of The Variety Early Learning Center’s Unfinished Playground Fence

Team three proposed several alternatives to solve the problem faced by the Variety Early Learning Center. One solution was to volunteer time to help alleviate the operating costs to give the center more funds to spend on fencing. That solution was not the most efficient solution; therefore we chose the best alternative of donating the materials and labor to complete the playground slat project as a team effort. This solution had an advantage over the others because of Drew’s employment by a fencing company. Drew estimated that he would be able to obtain fencing slats from his supplier for approximately $120 dollars. Once this solution was chosen, Drew presented a basic plan of renovating a fence for the Variety Early Learning Center and together we came up with how and when to complete the project. This is where the organizing came in, getting funds together and getting together to get the fence fixed. Drew printed out copies of the project summary, photo of the location, and address for us. In order to accomplish our goal, full involvement from the team was needed. The resources needed for this task were time, labor and materials. We each reached out to our family and friends by generating a flyer to offset the costs of the materials. Due to Drew’s line of work in the fencing industry he was able to get the materials at cost. We feel that be asking others to donate was an innovative way to get the funds that we needed. Also we were able to get the word out about a local organization that is helping the community and in need. Hopefully our work in this area will lead to others wanting to help the Variety Early Learning Center on their own.

Through a combination of personal funds and additional funds contributed by friends and family of the team, we purchased the slats and planned to meet to install the slats together on Saturday the 20 of June at 10:00am. The involvement of the group included physical labor. With the exception of Drew this kind of work was new to us all. Synergy was key in accomplishing this task. By working together we were able to complete the job in a fraction of the time it that would take one person.

fence 2

fence 3

Pictures of Team 3 working on the fence installation

The level of creativity in this project is evident in the way we sought put our resources and applied them to the task at hand. As a group we took a proactive approach in seeking out a cause in the community. Applying our management skills were necessary in the completion of this task because we would not have been able to coordinate schedules, negotiate funds and implement the objective with out such skills. When taking this into consideration this project was a very creative way to relate management to community service. Full group involvement was also vital for this task because without the job would have not been completed.
Another part of impact the project had was on our team. We had good time working together. The group work as team and accomplished the task in a timely manner. Our team is very proud of the job. Miss Ruby was onsite to meet us and was also very appreciative of our work. This helped the team feel more of a connection with the center. Drew’s involvement with this group is essentially what initiated this project. He recognized a need in the community and proposed it to the group. As a team we agreed that the fence for the Variety Early Learning Center was a noble cause and precisely the opportunity we were looking for. We feel that overall objective of reinforcing a much needed fence was a new look on the assignment. A fence is definitely not the foremost idea that any group could have. By coming to this conclusion we feel that we have transcended the traditional ideas of a community project.”

The Completed Fence

The Completed Fence

My friend Sarah Payne says to  “Credit to Melanie Lorino, Drew Nellen, Phil Rosati, and Evelyn Rodriguez, as well, they were my teammates!”

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Written by metaphysicalperegrine

June 29, 2009 at 1:52 pm

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