NJIT Volunteers Help New Community Corporation Transform Empty Lot Into Neighborhood Playground
The Home Depot, Habitat for Humanity, Miss New Jersey, Pathmark, Kaboom! and The City Kids Foundation Join NJIT and NCC in Celebration of USA Weekend’s National Make A Difference Day
NEWARK--Friday, October 24, 1997–More than 100 students, faculty and staff from New Jersey Institute of Technology are expected to partner with New Community Corporation, The Home Depot, Habitat for Humanity, Miss New Jersey, Pathmark, Kaboom!, and the City Kids Foundation to build a $50,000, state-of-the-art playground in Newark’s Central Ward.
University, corporate, foundation and community volunteers will erect the playground at a site across the street from the recently opened New Community Corporation Central Ward Neighborhood Recreation Center at 14th Avenue between Hayes and Bedford Streets. Volunteers will assemble at 8:30 a.m., Friday, October 24, to start construction. A ribbon-cutting and partner recognition ceremony will take place the same day. Construction will continue Saturday, October 25. The ADA-accessible playground, the design of which is inspired by the imaginations of children who will use the facility, features a range of active play areas, including spiral slides, overhead ladders, and fire poles.
NJIT’s participation is through the university’s Service Corps, a unit of the NJIT Office of Community and Public Service, which was cited by Service Learning in Higher Education as a national model for institutionalizing community service activities in an urban technological university. NJIT students participating in service activities apply classroom theory and concepts to real community problems. Since 1992, more than 1,000 NJIT students have contributed more than 30,000 hours to community service projects such as wiring community libraries to the Internet; tutoring under President Clinton’s Literacy Corps initiative; and providing site design for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
The playground is just one of New Community Corporation’s many housing, healthcare, education, community and economic development programs that have contributed to the revitalization of Newark’s Central Ward. It also is one of nine playgrounds that Atlanta-based home construction retail giant The Home Depot has committed to build this year through the Washington, D.C.-based Kaboom! Let Us Play Campaign. Kaboom! has pledged to build 1000 playgrounds by the end of the year 2000.
The Central Ward playground project takes place as a registered event under USA Weekend magazine’s National Make A Difference Day. The annual event, held on the fourth Saturday of each October, has attracted 3 million participants to date and is sponsored in collaboration with the non-partisan Points of Light Foundation with support of CivicSource, a national resource for civic leadership.
NJIT is a public research university enrolling nearly 8,200 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in 73 degree programs through its five colleges: Newark College of Engineering, School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, the School of Management and the Albert Dorman Honors College. Research initiatives include manufacturing, microelectronics, transportation, computer science, solar astrophysics, environmental engineering and science, and architecture and building science. U.S. News and World Report's 1998 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT among the top 175 national universities. Money Magazine's Best College Buys 1998 rated NJIT as the sixth best value among U.S. science and technology schools.