Friday, October 1, 2010

Bulldogs spruce up Parkside

Devonte Street, 18; James Carter, 18; and Lucky Dozer, 19, clean up Parkside Elementary. Photo courtesy of Tim Tulloch.

Sharon Ho
Issue date: 9/7/10

The Bulldogs took a break from football practice on Saturday, Aug. 21 to help spruce up Parkside Elementary School for their 2nd Annual Community Service Day.

The players joined other volunteers in collecting about 90 bags of trash, painting all the wheelchair ramps, the walls, the basketball courts, play areas, tables, benches and cleaning out the garden and planting trees.

"The school has been severely hit by budget cuts, and the only way to help maintain the school is through volunteer efforts," said Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Tim Tulloch.

The refurbishing effort was organized by a volunteer group called Parkside Dads, consisting mostly of the fathers of Shoreview's current students.

Tulloch is also a member.

The idea to volunteer came from the leadership group comprising of 10 players from the team.

"There a few different options on what volunteer work they could do, but they chose to clean up Parkside because they felt that that was the best option because it would have a direct effect on the community in making a difference," said Tulloch.

"We decided to clean up Parkside because we were all kids once and now as role models to them we want to show we do care about the kids and help them get a better experience of school than we did," said Marc Baker, an offensive lineman who is part of the leadership group. "It's important for our team to give back to the community and show we appreciate all that our community has done for us."

"I thought today was a great day seeing not only the team but also the coaches and others coming together to help paint and clean up the school," said running back Nate Newman, 19. "It shows how much we care about the community and also how much we don't mind taking the time out of our busy schedule to help others."

The Bulldogs plan to continue setting aside a day during the fall football season every year to volunteer.

"It is good for the players to learn that volunteering is important work and that they are more than just football players; they are also learning to be the leaders of tomorrow in helping to shape the community and this helps to increase their social awareness," Tulloch said.

This volunteering effort is part of the Bulldogs' Life Skills Development program. Players will also be attending workshops and talks as part of the program.

"Right now we are excited about a new mentoring program we launched just this summer through partnering with Bulldog alumnus Damion Caldwell's Walk Through Incorporated in which freshman and sophomore players are paired up with alumni as designated mentors," said Tulloch. "These mentors will help them continue to reach their end goal of getting their bachelor's degree and that is part of the bigger picture in our football program."

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