As part of the eighth annual Weapons of Mass Construction (WOMC) service event, the Princeton Varsity Club organized two days of service including a return trip to Rosedale Park in Pennington, NJ to team up with HomeFront and Mathematica for their annual Mother’s Day Picnic, and a partnership with Community & Regional Affairs in support of local community garden projects.
For the last twenty years, HomeFront has established itself as an organization dedicated to ending the cycle of poverty and homelessness in the Central New Jersey area. HomeFront’s staff provides resources and the basic necessities for those underprivileged families dealing with transient housing. Established in 1968, Mathematica is a policy research company that is devoted to social policy evaluation, in hopes of finding the best solutions to promote well-being and reduce poverty and homelessness numbers.
For the second straight year, Tiger student-athletes spent a mid-May Saturday afternoon leading activities spread throughout the Rosedale Park including an arts & crafts station, basketball games, wiffle ball competitions, frisbee and football tossing, as well as the crowd-favorite game of cornhole. To add to the picnic, Tiger student-athletes participated in a game of bingo with the HomeFront mothers who were also being celebrated on this special day.
A New Jersey native, rising junior from the men’s basketball team Spencer Weisz ’17 spoke of the importance of the PVC’s efforts in continuing to build upon the connection with the HomeFront organization. “I’ve seen some of these kids grow up. I remember a lot of them from last year. They’ve gotten a lot bigger and it is so great to stay connected with them.” The PVC also partners with HomeFront each fall to bring students to campus as part of “Community & Staff Day.”
Earlier in the spring, the PVC also teamed up with the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative to help get local school gardens ready for spring planting. Student-athletes visited Community Park Elementary, and Johnson Park Elementary. They turned soil, landscaped, weeded, removed leaves, and prepared multiple beds that would be used for educational programming with the students. The PVC also partnered with Team Community Garden to help prepare raised beds at the Harriet Bryan House, a senior center that provides apartments for low income elderly residents. The garden at Harriet Bryan House is truly unique in that it is fully handicap accessible and provides wheelchair accessible tabletop planters.
Bing Lin ’16 of the men’s soccer team believes community service events like these have helped him build camaraderie with student-athletes outside of his own team. “The [PVC] provides a great experience to get together not only with the Trenton community, but also with the Princeton community in ways in which you wouldn’t ever be able to.”
To see photos from Weapons of Mass Construction: HomeFront Spring ’15, click here.
To see photos from Weapons of Mass Construction: Community Gardens Spring ’15, click here.
If you’d like to get involved with HomeFront and their initiative call 609-989-9417 or send an email to [email protected]. To learn more about Princeton School Gardens Cooperative, please visit www.psgcoop.org. To learn more about Team Community Garden, please visit www.teamcommunitygarden.com.