Members of the Rho Omega Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. cleaned up Newkirk Park at the end of May, but their work is just beginning, as the sorority plans on leaving a tangible mark on the community for years to come — to include a brand new bench.
The City Council and the city’s Recreation and Parks Department recognized members of the sorority, which held its 1908 Playground Impact Day at James L. Newkirk Park on Ferrell Street following their work.
“The group planted plants, put out mulch around the park, painted benches and picnic tables,” said City recreation director Jonathan Allen. “They did a tremendous job and had some help from the Newkirk Park Committee.”
The next day, the group celebrated as part of the free Impact Day event, during which families and guests enjoyed food, a cotton candy machine, face painting, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a Zumba session among other activities.
“It was a really good event and the park looks a lot nicer as well,” Allen noted. “We do appreciate their involvement and their work.”
The event was part of the sorority’s national initiative to restore, refresh and renew parks throughout the world. Aptly, the sorority plans to mobilize 1,908 playgrounds as part of that initiative. Allen recognized members of the sorority at the Council’s meeting, distributing certificates with Mayor Lew Starling to the women in attendance.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. reciprocated, presenting the City of Clinton with a $500 check.
Event organizer Nicole Edwards said it was an honor to work with the Newkirk Park Committee and talked about a larger goal to revamp areas where youngsters play.
“This is a national initiative for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and our goal is to mobilize 1,908 playgrounds across the United States and internationally,” she attested. “We have partnered with the Newkirk Park Committee in making sure this community park will be a safe and healthy environment. This is a partnership we will continue for the next three years. It is a four-year project.”
Edwards alluded to future plans for the park and said the working relationship between Alpha Kappa Alpha and the Newkirk Park Committee will continue.
“We’ll have activities throughout the four years and we’ll be doing different projects,” she said. “We will continue to serve the citizens of Clinton and in the community of Newkirk Park.”
During their work, Edwards said, she and other sorority members have noticed benches around the park that were adorned with names of community members. The sorority wants to be a part of that, and an integral piece of this community, she pointed out.
“We have decided to donate $500 to purchase a bench,” she told Council members. “We were the first Greek letter organization in Sampson County and we are now going to be the first Greek letter organization to have a bench in Newkirk Park.”
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