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Originally posted October 31, 2012
Free festival on Nov. 8 to help launch Hicks Park Community Center as ‘lighthouse’ for East Tulsa
The public is invited to a free community festival at Hicks Park Community Center, 3433 S. Mingo Road, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, November 8, as part of a partnership between Union Public Schools and the city of Tulsa to revitalize the community center for East Tulsa.
The first 1,000 people to the festival will receive a free hot dog meal, and children will also receive free haircuts and free hearing screens.
“We will showcase the partnerships that are available to the Clark and McAuliffe Elementary School communities as we present Hicks Parks as a community center we hope will become the ‘Lighthouse of Our Community’,” McAuliffe Community School Coordinator Jeremy Quinonez said.
Partners which will offer services at the festival include Boy Scouts of America, Southwood Baptist Church, the Community Health Connection, Tulsa City-County Health Department, Clary Sage, the Oklahoma State University Extension Office, Tulsa City--County Library and Northeastern State University.
“I am so pleased that the ideas and plans for this partnership have come together,” Superintendent Dr. Cathy Burden said. “It is the beginning of something really big and I am very proud of the team who has taken this from concept to reality.”
“The East Tulsa community is a diverse population of young and old and they need a safe, full-service community center within their neighborhood,” Quinonez said. “We recognize the urgent need to equip the adult community with life skills and to cultivate the neighborhood children so they may become healthy, responsible members of society.”
According to the 2010 Tulsa Parks and Recreation Master Plan, East Tulsa is characterized by the lowest usage levels of all city facilities including community centers, recreation programs, athletic fields, parks, trails and nature centers; residents cited “safety and security” as the primary reason they don’t use these facilities.
Union and city representatives have been working to gather data about the community as they address problems of poverty, crime and low education levels and they are proposing a one-year pilot program to re-conceptualize Hicks Parks by offering better community services via a partnership between Union and the city of Tulsa.
“The East Tulsa community will reap enormous and quantifiable benefits from a shared community partnership between Union Public Schools and the city of Tulsa,” Quinonez said.“Through deliberate development and implementation of programs and services, our community members will be afforded the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and realize success, changing the future of generations. The pilot program will break down barriers and create a hub in the community to bring much-needed wrap-around services and programs to the residents of East Tulsa from cradle to the golden years.”
Programs they hope to offer or expand include financial literacy, personal wellness, career training services, GED classes, English language and naturalization classes, parenting support, college preparedness, after-school support, and tutoring.
Personal wellness support would include services such as medical and family assistance, behavioral and mental health, food and clothing assistance, nutrition counseling and social services support.
Union Public Schools and the city of Tulsa hope to forge partnerships with local businesses, neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations and organizations like the YMCA, the Southeast Rotary and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as well as community-based organizations such as Family and Children’s Services, and higher education institutions such as Oklahoma State University, University of Tulsa, University of Oklahoma, and Northeastern State University.