|First-year student Alex Doughman picks up trash along Southern Boulevard, one of several locations where Palm Beach Atlantic University students took part in Welcome Week Workship projects on Saturday.|
Visitors to downtown West Palm Beach’s picturesque waterfront on Saturday morning caught a glimpse of volunteerism in action as an army of Palm Beach Atlantic University students in blue T-shirts worked to beautify several blocks of Flagler Drive between Lakeview Avenue and Banyan Boulevard.
Armed with garbage bags and gardening tools, teams of students picked up trash, pulled weeds and cleared litter from the walking paths.
A few miles away, another group of students worked in two-person cleanup teams along Southern Boulevard near the Intracoastal Waterway and the nearby mangrove islands. In addition to picking up debris, they took notes on the things they found for future research by the Ocean Conservancy.
Along with cans, bottles, food wrappers and other items, “we found a ton of cigarette butts,” one of the volunteers said.
The participants were taking part in what has become a rite of passage for incoming PBA students. Hundreds of freshmen and transfer students, along with student leaders, spent the Saturday before today’s start of classes volunteering across Palm Beach County through Workship, a distinctive community service program that has been at the heart of PBA since its founding in 1968.
In addition to the two waterfront cleanup projects, students worked at the Palm Beach Zoo, Quantum House, Lourdes-Noreen McKeen Residence, Pine Jog Environmental Education Center and the Rosemary Village Back-to-School Block Party in West Palm Beach; the Gray Mockingbird Community Garden in Lake Worth; Grace Pointe Church in suburban Lake Worth; and Community of Hope in Loxahatchee.
At the Palm Beach Zoo, the students applied varnish to picnic tables built earlier in the year by a Boy Scout troop. They also helped to spread sustainably-harvested mulch made from renewable eucalyptus. About 58,000 pounds of the mulch had been donated to the zoo by the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.
At the Rosemary Village block party, students set up children’s games, manned face-painting stations and assisted with arts and crafts.
|PBA students volunteer at the Palm Beach Zoo on Saturday.|
The annual block party is held in partnership with Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, which hosts a variety of children’s programs for underprivileged children in the neighborhood. PBA students volunteer with some of the programs, such as after-school tutoring, throughout the school year.
The block party is the kickoff event for the year, said the Rev. Kevin Jones, the church’s minister for youth and young adults. “It’s really an opportunity for us to touch the neighborhood and show them the love of Christ,” said Rev. Jones, a 2007 graduate of PBA.
The volunteers said they activity was beneficial to them as well.
“It gives students a good idea of what PBA stands for,” said Edward Amos, a freshman finance major. “It’s just good to get out and be a part of it all.”