TAMPA, Fla. – Members of the South Tampa Chapter of the Young Men’s Services League (YMSL) came together recently to refurbish the Learning Center at St. John, a nonprofit accredited pre-school.
About 30 teenage boys and their mothers worked together on activities such as re-finishing all the wood playground equipment and staining picnic tables and benches. They also beautified the landscape by donating and planting several shrubs, ornamental plans, and herbs for the preschoolers. In addition, they took on the challenging project of re-surfacing the rubber tile play area for the little ones, and stained the stage just in time for holiday show rehearsals.
“It was amazing and overwhelming that day when we had such an outpouring of moms and sons working together. They went full force and words cannot express our deepest gratitude,” said Learning Center Program Director Sandy Spreadbury.
Spreadbury said the children were delighted to come back to school on Monday to find the improvements. A couple of the highlights for the children were that they could play on the play equipment without getting splinters, inspect insects and butterflies in the butterfly garden and sample herbs from the garden area. Enough herbs were planted that they could share, and children have been incorporating basil and rosemary into their meals at home with their families.
In addition to donating about 125 hours of labor on October 1, the group donated $535 in supplies.
“We were so happy to participate in this wonderful event with the Learning Center,” said YMSL President Kristen Chittenden. “It was an event that brought our entire membership together to touch the lives of the kids at the Learning Center, and it is these types of opportunities that teach our young men to give back to their community.”
YMSL is a national non-profit organization that initiates and encourages young men and their mothers to pursue philanthropic involvement in their communities, as well as provides an opportunity to enhance mother/son relationships. The young men and their mothers participate in a four year program of philanthropy, education and leadership.
The Learning Center is dedicated to providing nationally accredited pre-school education and after-school care to children and families in underserved neighborhoods.