Wanted: Volunteers to Revitalize This Play Area

[Update: January 7, 2013]

Last summer College of Design student Charles Colvin (Landscape Architecture) was hired as a project manager to help revitalize the Southside Family Nurturing Center's playground in Minneapolis. When we followed up with his project for our spring 2013 issue of Emerging, he shared these photos of the final project.

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[Original Post: July 25, 2012]


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The Southside Family Nurturing Center (SFNC) was founded in 1974 on the belief that child abuse and neglect are preventable. Today, the non-profit agency serves over 70 families with over 115 children in the Phillips neighborhood. It focuses on holistic family treatment by addressing the needs of the whole family and running programs specific to the neighborhood's diverse ethnic population.

Southside is housed in a century-year-old mansion, and master of landscape architecture student Charles Colvin has been hired as a project manager to help revitalize the mansion's outside play space. Professor Nicole Schlepp (Landscape Architecture) provide the initial conceptual designs for updating space.

"The most exciting part of this project is the potential to improve the lives of the children," says Colvin. "For many of them this is the only backyard they will know."

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Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-August. Along with participating in the design development of the play space, Colvin is seeking donations of labor and/or materials that will help Southside construct the entire project this year rather than phasing it over several years. He's looking for volunteers to help with basic landscape installation: placing and grading topsoil, sodding, planting and potentially paver/block wall construction. Volunteers with carpentry skills are needed to construct a variety of site elements like garden boxes, benches with storage space, and a table and benches. If there are volunteers who know how to build musical instruments (especially drums) the site includes a marimba wall that could be constructed with volunteer labor rather than purchased from a catalog.

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"This project creates an opportunity for local landscape contractors and material suppliers to make a huge difference in the lives of children struggling to overcome a host of issues," explains Colvin. "I hope you will join me and the other donors is helping make this project happen in 2012."

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Colvin at colvi053@umn.edu or (952) 807-7282.

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