This weekend scores of volunteers gathered at the old Mann school building, formerly home of the Nova program, and went to work with shovels, tillers, floor buffers, and paintbrushes as they prepared the school for new programs targeted towards high school dropouts.
As we reported earlier in the year, the school district has leased the property to the Work It Out project, a community organization that will offer education and job training resources to at-risk youth ages 16-21 who have dropped out of school.
Hundreds of volunteers have been working for the past several weekends to clean up and refurbish the almost 100 year old at 24th & Cherry.
This past weekend, volunteers from Seattle University were hard at work in the east yard of the property, cleaning out old plants and vines and tilling the soil to support the school’s garden. Work It Out’s Dariush Shafagh told us that plans are to grow food to use in the school’s self-sustaining kitchen, and use the experience to teach program members how to cook.
Inside the building volunteers from Seattle Bean were putting finishing touches on new paint, donated by Microsoft, and cleaning the floors with heavy old 1950s-era floor polishers.
There’s one more weekend of work planned for November 27th and 28th, leading up to the school’s open house and fundraiser on December 1st.
Classes are scheduled to begin in January 2011.
Seattle U students clean up the future garden at the Mann school
I went to Nova in 1981, a troubled high school drop out who had gotten in with a very bad crowd. I found it impossible to continue to attend Nova because of the crime, bullying, and flat out assault (twice, for me) robbery (once for me) committed against kids like me as we tried to wait for the bus at 23rd and Cherry. Sadly, not much has changed. My kids now go to Garfield and I drive them there and back, because standing on 23rd and Cherry is still, if not even more so, an exercise which involves risking your security, safety, and sometimes your front teeth. Putting already at-risk kids in a location where drugs are pushed, and violence and victimization are common, has always seemed to me a poor choice.