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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Community Partners Dedicated to Fruitland Center's Success

SALISBURY, MD---With a dedication to helping children learn and grow in a caring environment, the Fruitland Community Center on Morris Street in Fruitland continues to thrive, thanks to the efforts of local volunteers and organizations. In 1998, Salisbury University volunteers helped implement a summer camp at the center’s educational program, the Ivy AKAdemy, a tradition that continues thanks to grant funding from the Governor's Office Maryland Summer Centers for Children and Youth (6-12 years old). Programs focus on drugs and alcohol, crime prevention, math and science. The Wicomico County Board of Education Food Service Program provided free breakfasts and lunches for children attending the summer program from 1995-2003. The Wicomico County Recreation and Parks summer program provides field trips for children attending the academy. Parents send their children to the camp free of charge.           SU's students have been employees and volunteers at the center and University employees have assisted in everything from arranging transportation for field trips to actually painting the building during "Let's Make a Difference Week." Children at the center are also able to attend cultural events, such as the University Dance Company's semi-annual Dance Showcase, for free. Last year, SU's student NAACP chapter volunteered two days a week at the center. Salisbury's Promise at SU is a partner with the center, helping implement goals that include providing a safe environment for children supervised by caring adults who teach constructive activities and marketable skills. Also planned are participation in Salisbury's Promise's Groundhog Job Shadow Program, allowing children to shadow local professionals, conflict resolution, creative and newspaper writing, and an incentive project through which students would be able to "shop" for items donated by local sponsors at a community center "store" using points earned for completing assigned tasks. Through partnerships with Salisbury's Promise, SU and others including the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Girl Scouts of America, the Ivy AKAdemy has grown and continues to prosper. Other partnerships include those with James M. Bennett Middle School, the city of Fruitland, Fruitland Police Department, the Maryland Juvenile Justice Department, Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church, St. John’s United Methodist Church Asbury United Methodist Church, Fruitland Primary and Intermediate schools, Fruitland Redmen Club, Fruitland Lions Club, Fruitland Chamber of Commerce, Salisbury VFW 10159, Salisbury American Legion Post 145, the Wicomico County Noon Rotary Club, the Wicomico County  Sunrise Rotary Club, Comcast Cablevision and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Soroity Delta Sigma Omega Chapter. More than 1,000 children have passed through the academy, spanning two generations in some families. The center is open 4-6:30 p.m. on school days. Hours vary in the summer. The programs are free. Volunteers must have background checks, which the center does not fund. Teachers and law enforcement officials are preferred. To volunteer or for more information call Tanisha Armstrong or Angela Cadejuste at 410-341-6225 or Alexis Dashield at 410-749-5526.

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