By NICK IZZO
To commemorate National Community Action Month in May, youth and volunteers of Project Vision One to One cleaned up Pioneer Park in Provo Tuesday evening.
Project Vision is a volunteer mentoring program for at-risk youth.
Approximately 10 volunteers and 20 youth participated in the cleanup, which Provo Parks and Recreation Department Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Mustell said was sorely needed.
The project turned all the participants in Project Vision into volunteers for the evening. Participants cleaned the picnic tables at the park, swept and raked the grounds and weeded the flower beds.
“The program has been around four years and started out with only four or five kids and counselors. Today we have approximately 39 volunteers and 55 youth participants,” said Amy Rasmussen, program director of Project Vision One to One.
The overall mission of Project Vision One is to prevent substance abuse, gang involvement, and poverty and to build positive self-image in youth and community involvement, Rasmussen said.
Project Vision is designed to pair community volunteer mentors with at-risk youth. Volunteers participate with the youth in a combination of group activities and one-on-one time. In the weekly group activities, mentors and youth utilize the creativity and ideas of the group to explore many of today’s challenges, as well as work on developing skills that will benefit them in the future.
Kids stay in the program as long as they need or want. Volunteers are asked to stay for six months.
“We have been able to hike in the mountains, go to the boys’ club and swim,” said Jason Morse, a 10-year-old attending Franklin Elementary School who has been involved in Project Vision for nine months.
When asked what he enjoyed most about Project Vision, Jason said he enjoyed spending time with his partner Ron.
Justin White, a junior from Petaluma, Calif., majoring in broadcast journalism and the assistant program director of Project Vision, said there are many activities for the youth to participate in.
“Recent activities have included visiting rest homes, capture the flag, frisbee football, family barbecues, roller skating, goal setting activities and much more,” White said.
In addition to youth and mentor group activities, Project Vision holds family activities for the youth and their families, with the volunteers, every one to two months. Recent activities were a family barbecue and talent show.
“I was looking for a community service to get involved with,” White said. “I just happened to be passing by the library one day and noticed a recruitment table that was set up. And here I am today.”
Those same recruitment tables will be set up next week in front of the Harold B. Lee Library for all those who are interested in getting involved with Project Vision One to One.