As a Community Builder in the Barclay neigborhood, I’ve learned that one of the best ways to know your neighborhood is just to show up and be present. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working with community volunteers to form a Neighborhood Talent Collective. Last Friday, we hosted a basketball recruitment effort – geared towards middle and high school youth – at the Greenmount Recreation Center.
We were all hopeful for a successful evening. For weeks, we had knocked on doors, shared at neighborhood events, distributed fliers through the neighborhood, talked to youth at the local playground and people on the street. One young member of the Collective showed up with two additional volunteers – a good sign. On our way to the Rec Center, we made one last sweep of the neighborhood before being joined by two additional volunteers from the community.
We were graciously received by Miss Terri Fulp – the Center Director. We arrived just before dinner was served to the after school students and other youth desiring the nightly free meal. Our volunteers joined right in and helped prepare hotdogs for the more than 30 basketball recruits who had shown up. Later, Miss Terri and our volunteers gathered in the gym to sign-up youth for team basketball. Miss Terri shot hoops with the older kids and talked to them while we focused on the younger students.
Approximately 10-12 of the middle and high school students in attendance came from the neighborhood recruitment efforts. One high schooler on a restrictive curfew was brought by his mother. He later asked me to call her to see if he could stay longer. Another young man – who had been reprimanded previously for his behavior at the center – came to the door to give me his mother’s contact information; he wanted to play ball.
Before leaving, Miss Terri gave our group a tour of the facility. We were shocked but pleased to find out that the center has a space for arts and craft, a fitness room and a multi-purpose space on the second floor. All in all, we had a great evening at the Rec!
Submitted by Lottie Sneed, Barclay Community Builder at GHCC.