Washington-Marion students upgrade local park through Tellurian’s Youth LEAD Program

Updated: Feb. 5, 2020 at 10:26 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Several Washington-Marion students are making a difference in the City of Lake Charles through Tellurian’s Youth LEAD Program.

The Jessie D. Clifton Community Center and Park has been in Lake Charles for almost 35 years. It was named after the first black female principal in Calcasieu Parish. She was principal at Washington Junior and Senior High School, now known as Washington-Marion High School. So when a group of Washington-Marion students joined Tellurian’s Youth LEAD Program and had to decide what project they wanted to do in their community, they said choice that was easy.

“We chose this park because it’s a traditional park in our community where family and friends come together, they have parties and events that are really special to them," said student Aa’sialynn Fuller. "So we hope that this project will help bring the community back together and have people have a strong sense of pride in the park.”

Every one of the students involved in the project says they utilize the park. Some say to play basketball, others say they had a crawfish boil there recently.

The group says they are hoping to restripe the parking lines, replace trash receptacles and benches, add a volleyball net, as well as potentially update the sign and beautify the area around it.

They presented their idea to the city and community officials last month, with Mayor Nic Hunter highlighting what the students are doing through Tellurian’s LEAD program at City Council Wednesday night.

“To see a group of young people like y’all getting together, concerned about your community, is a big, big step towards great leaders," said Councilman Rodney Geyen.

The group plan to begin purchasing items, start landscaping and begin planning workdays this month, and hope to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony in March or April.

The Washington-Marion students participating are Devon Dobbins, Aa’sialynn Fuller, Alicia Powell, Zavier Richard, Javonte Roberts, Asia Senegal, Nathaniel Smith, Asia Stevens, and Janaya Woodard. They are being assisted by their faculty advisor Corry Allen.

The City of Lake Charles says, through its Partners in Parks initiative, it will be matching Tellurian’s contribution.

Tellurian’s Youth LEAD Program, LEAD standing for leadership, enrichment, and development, is designed to cultivate the next generation of leaders in the community by selecting several students to participate in the program and choose a project to work on. Tellurian then provides the program participants with $20,000 and a challenge to “do good in their community”.

Last year, several Sulphur high school students who were in the program last year donated radar speed signs to the City of Sulphur to put in school zones. The year before that, Sulphur high school students placed Little Free Pantries around the city.

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