Providence College, Providence Parks Department, and City Officials Collaborate to Transform Neighborhood Playground
Providence, R.I. -- For the sixth consecutive year, Providence College alumni, staff, and students will work with the City of Providence in Friars United for Service in Our Neighborhood (FUSION), a collaboration to refurbish historic landmarks and community parks in Providence. This year, the group will install a new play structure, swing set, benches, and a safety surface at Corliss Park (located on Corina Street, off of Hawkins Street in Providence, R.I.)
The event will be held on Saturday, April 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (best media opportunity from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
Among those attending will be College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, and Providence city councilman David Salvatore.
“The Providence College community has long understood the importance and the value of giving back to the community. Presently, over 2,000 Providence College students volunteer just short of 50,000 hours annually at more than 200 different non-profit sites in the Greater Providence area. Today, we are pleased to focus the efforts of our annual FUSION event on Corliss Park. This park has the potential to be of much greater benefit to the local community than it is at present, and we believe that our contribution here today will serve as the catalyst to help the City and the neighborhood move it forward to a new and higher use,” said Providence College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P.
“The improvements at Corliss Park will be a huge benefit to the entire community, providing an attractive fun and functional recreational area that will encourage physical activity among both children and adults,” said Councilman Salvatore.
“Once completed, students of the Veazie Street Elementary School, along with other neighborhood children, will have modern play equipment and a beautiful outdoor play area to enjoy. The partnership between FUSION volunteers and the City demonstrates a great example of creative solutions and community service,” said Salvatore.
Providence Parks Department officials estimate that there has been more than $100,000 of labor donated to various projects by PC students, staff, alumni, and city employees in the first five years of this ten-year partnership. To date, much of this work has occurred at the Esek Hopkins Homestead complex including new walkways and perimeter fencing in conformance with the historical structure, addition of a new turf soccer field, and playground apparatus on the adjoining athletic complex.
The unique partnership with city parks department officials was developed by the College’s President’s Council. The council is a leadership group, comprised of senior executives from many of Rhode Island’s most prominent employers, who serve in an advisory capacity to the College’s president.
The FUSION effort matches PC undergraduates with young alumni/alumnae who graduated between 2000 and 2011, regional alumni club leaders, members of the National Alumni Association Board of Governors, and members of the President’s Council. FUSION is designed to facilitate networking and service opportunities among students, alumni, College neighbors, and members of the Greater Providence community.
According to PC officials, this unique partnership with the City of Providence has helped cultivate relationships on several levels. Alumni are role modeling for students how to stay connected with their alma mater. Some 18 executive mentors and upper-class student mentees are using the service project as another “touch point” as participants in the President’s Council’s innovative Executive Mentoring Program. Police officers assigned to the neighborhood are using the service day to further engage students living in the neighborhood. And Providence College is working with city officials to find creative ways to serve as an asset to the City.