Breaking Walls, Building a Dream

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Publication Date: 2/27/2008

On a chilly morning in January, a group of Rhodes students began the task of transforming what once was an abandoned apartment into the future home of A New Beginning Education Center. The center will focus on helping members of the Hollywood Springdale community earn a GED and help with computer and job training—all for free.

Velsicol Chemical Corporation of Memphis is funding the renovation of two apartments into a classroom, purchasing computers and providing all the supplies needed for the program. Urban Studies academic intern Erin Foster ′10 recruited members of Kappa Delta sorority and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity along with Bonner Scholars and Kinney volunteers to help knock down walls and rip out unneeded parts of the apartment before construction officially began.

"The project was an awesome way to start off my Saturday morning," said Grayson Lucas ′11. "I had a great time ripping the apartment up and I really look forward to all the good that will come out of this effort for the entire Hollywood-Springdale area."

Anna Moak ′10 agreed. "I know that the little bit that I am doing now is going to change lives. I cannot wait for the classroom to open up so I can come and volunteer!"

Reverend Booker, who started A New Beginning Ministries, gave Foster the opportunity to take an idea and make it a reality. "It has been so inspiring to see the benefits that have already come from this program, and I can only imagine what we will do in the future," she says. "It is my hope that this will become a program that helps community members to succeed."