Last week, several University of Memphis student-athletes contributed some of their time to help 200 volunteers construct a playground for the youth attending Hanley Elementary in the Orange Mound community.
With the intentions of promoting college education to their students, Aspire Public Schools collaborated with KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that helps create playspaces, to execute a one-day project. Aspire currently caters to 12,000 students from grades K through 12 in six cities in California and will start operating in Memphis for the academic year of 2013 to 2014.
“I feel like this is an amazing opportunity to have so many people under one cause, and that cause to provide an amazing playspace for children right here in the Orange Mound community,” Manager Nick Manning of Aspire Public Schools Community Outreach & Partnerships said. “This is what true citizenship is about.”
Of all the student-athletes, freshman defensive lineman Carl Mitchell was one who arrived a little early at Hanley last Friday to help finish the project. “It’s been fun. I’m from Memphis so I love helping out the community and giving back,” Mitchell said.
A couple of other Memphis football players, including senior quarterback Jacob Karam and senior offensive lineman Antonio Foster were also volunteering their time at Hanley Elementary, located less than a mile from the Tigers’ home field, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. “It’s fun being hands-on and giving back to the community,” Karam said. “As college football players, we’re put on a great platform. It’s exciting to come out here and get involved with the community.”
“It’s real fun being out here and keeping in the back of our head that we’re helping out the children of Hanley Elementary,” Foster said. “They told us about this and we just jumped to it.”