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Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force

 Welcome to the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force page!

To see our most recent PowerPoint presentation "Community Organizing: You're Never Too Young" on Google Drive, given in Washington, D.C. this past summer, click here.  

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force consists of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students from St. Anthony of Padua School in Camden, New Jersey, as well as students from St. Cecilia and LEAP Academy.  They use principles of community organizing to help make our local park, Von Nieda Park, a safer and more enjoyable place for all to enjoy.  The students meet weekly to prepare for meetings with Camden County and City parks officials, government officials, and other interested community members that take place once a month.

For more information about our Task Force, call Fr. Jud at 856-963-5884 or e-mail us at SLVNPTF ( @gmail.com ) 
 

Upcoming Events

Fri., April 25, 2014 -- 10 a.m. - 11 a.m., Von Nieda Park Community Meeting in the Cramer Hill Community Center.

Sat., April 26, 2014 - Comcast Cares Day, when many volunteers will help our Student Leaders with projects in Von Nieda Park

Sat., May 10, 2014 -- Camden County Public Safety Awareness Day and Bike Rodeo in Von Nieda Park, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Recent News -- 2014 (to see previous years, scroll way down)


Wednesday, April 16 and Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 


These legal notices basically mean that the Von Nieda Park stormwater project and Baldwin's Run daylighitng project have gone out to bid, and we are one step closer to the start of construction!

Thurs., March 27, 2014 - The first new pieces of equipment for the installation of lights in Von Nieda Park arrived.

Sat., March 22, 2014 - 40 people attended the first Von Nieda Park Cleanup Day of the year.

Sun., March 16, 2014 - Ms. Nieves and several Student Leaders appeared on Dr. Luis Lupez's radio show on La Mega

Wed., March 12, 2014 - The Student Leaders' North Camden Task Force testified for the first time at Camden City Hall.

Wed., March 5, 2014 - Mr. Ray Lamboy visited the Student Leaders' North Camden Task Force at Holy Name in North Camden.

Sat., March 1, 2014 -- a brief article about "Un-Dark the Park" appeared in SJ Magazine.

Wed., Feb. 26, 2014 -- Councilman Luis Lopez visited the Student Leaders' North Camden Task Force meeting at Holy Name School in North Camden; First meeting of the Student Leaders Task Forces board at St. Anthony's.

Fri., Feb. 21, 2014 -- at the monthly Von Nieda Park community meeting, Mr. Brett Waters of the Camden County Freeholders office presented the Student Leaders with a copy of the Resolution awarding a $154,000 contract for improved lighting in Von Nieda Park. 

Tues., Feb. 11, 2014--Ms. Nieves and Fr. Jud appeared on WTTM 1680 radio, talking about the Student Leaders at St. Anthony's and Holy Name schools; the Student Leaders presented and participated at the CCOP Citywide meeting at the Romero Center

Thurs., Jan. 30, 2014 -- three Student Leaders were featured in a video at the Camden SMART (Stormwater Management and Resource Training) Forum at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden.

Wed., Jan. 29, 2014 -- the Student Leaders were recognized in the Congressional Record by Rep. Rob Andrews for their work on the Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing.

 Mon., Jan. 20, 2014 -- 75 students representing nine Camden and suburban schools (and home schooling) participated in the 5th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Community Organizing.

Wed., Jan. 15, 2014 -- The Student Leaders Program expanded to Holy Name School in North Camden!

Wed., Jan. 15, 2014, 6:15 p.m. -- 200-250 people attended the Student Leaders "Un-Dark the Park" event in Von Nieda Park, celebrating Camden County's approval of funding for new lights in the park.

Tues., Jan. 14, 2014 -- The Student Leaders received a commendation from Camden City Council.

 Mon., Jan. 13, 2014 -- Two of our Student Leaders were interviewed live on 1680 AM La Unika, the largest Spanish language radio station in the Philadelphia region.  Thanks to the Student Leaders Program's Assistant Director Ms. Mirta Nieves, and mentor Grace Nieves for accompanying them, and thanks to Miguel Arriaga of Miguel's Pharmacy for arranging this opportunity.

History

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force started as a Civic Engagement class during the 2011 summer session of St. Anthony of Padua School.  Ms. Kate Goodman of CCOP (Camden Churches Organized for People) and Mr. Josh Dupuis, a former Franciscan Volunteer and current faculty member at St. Anthony's, taught the class.  When they were unable to continue, Fr. Jud Weiksnar, pastor of St. Anthony's and an active member in CCOP, saw great potential in the students and started mentoring the group..  


Mr. Dupuis teaching Civic Engagement.

In December, 2011, some members of the Civic Engagement class were invited to the organizing committee for the 3rd annual Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing, held yearly at St. Anthony's.  At that MLK Day of Community Organizing on January 16, 2012, the students decided to keep meeting on a regular basis to make changes in our community through the use of community organizing principles.

 

Through weekly meetings with Fr. Jud, and visits from Mrs. Tk Rodgers of CCOP and Mrs. Lori Chaffers of the Catholic Partnership Schools, the students have learned about community organizing themes such as Change, Power, Vision, Attitude, Analysis, Community, Responsibility, Common Good, Research, and Faith.  Our students represent different faith traditions, and we begin and end our classes with prayer.

One of the key points our students emphasize in their public presentations, and especially on Martin Luther King Day, is the difference between community service and community organizing.  While they see the value of community service, and do community service themselves, they see community organizing as a more powerful vehicle for long-lasting change.  They have forged strong relationships with the city and county leaders responsible for the maintenance, repair, and improvement of the park.  Through monthly research meetings, our students present their needs to the officials, who in turn inform the students of their concerns and expectations.

The students have diligently prepared agendas for the monthly meetings with city and county parks officials.  Their efforts have resulted in changes in the park such as: shorter pickup time for illegally dumped trash and construction debris; repairing and painting of benches; new baseketball nets; new swings; removal of graffiti from the community center walls and signs; removal of stumps and other hazardous objects; and the installation of two community notice boards.  See below for "before and after" pictures.

At the 2013 Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing, the students conducted research interviews with city and county officials, and got a commitment from Freeholder Louis Cappelli Jr. to improve the lighting and increase the policing in Von Nieda Park, major accomplishments.

In the summer of 2013, Cramer Hill resident Ms. Mirta Nieves became involved after seeing the Student Leaders in action at a Von Nieda Park monthly community meeting.  She is now Assistant Director of the Student Leader Task Forces, as the group has expanded to Holy Name Schooli in North Camden.

The biggest change the students have noted is in themselves.  They now have confidence to meet with public officials and chair meetings; belief that public officials will listen to young people; hope for a better Camden; and faith in a future they cannot yet see. 

Having a cooperative principal and teachers, an active community organizing group like CCOP, approachable city and county officials, concerned city and county workers, and a genuinely nice bunch of kids are all ingredients in what's made this work.  Without them, the transformation you see in the pictures below would not be possible.

Before and After


Before
After

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

Photos, Videos and Links


We've notified the parks department that there is a lot of broken glass in left field in the Hayes Avenue baseball field in Von Nieda Park.  (Note: it was cleaned up within 24 hours.)

Inspired by the popular music for Pharrell Williams' Oscar-nominated song "Happy," staffers and volunteers from 12 local nonprofits came together (here in Von Nieda Park) for their own music video to express their own happiness. The work is part of The Goodness Project, whose aim is to promote all the "good" works that nonprofits are doing in the often-maligned city of Camden. 

Ms. Maurie Smith of Cooper's Ferry showing the Student Leaders the plans for the Baldwin's Run project, at the far end of Von Nieda Park. Baldwin's Run, a creek covered over in the 1940s, will be uncovered to help lessen the flooding problem in the park and neighborhood.

Thanks to the county for sending workers to clean up Von Nieda Park.

Congratulations to our newly Confirmed Student Leaders.

Student Leaders composing an e-mail to Senator Corey Booker's office.
Ms. Maurie Smith of Cooper's Ferry showing the engineering plans for Von Nieda Park to the Student Leaders.

Something new in Von Nieda Park: picnic benches.

To read a nice article about the Catholic Partnership Schools click here.  The Student Leaders are mentioned toward the end of the article.


We've reminded the county to empty the trash barrels in Von Nieda Park. Otherwise this happens.  (It has since been taken care of.) Congratulations to the Catholic Partnership students (including five from St. Anthony's) to be chosen for Notre Dame's NDignite program!

We've notified the county and city that the recycle cans need to be emptied, and the sewer grates need to be cleaned out, in Von Nieda Park.  (It has since been taken care of.)

Congratulations to the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force for being featured in the latest Catholic Campaign for Human Development newsletter. Click on the photo (above) to see the whole newsletter.

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force met with officials at Cooper's Ferry to find out about progress on the Von Nieda Park and Baldwin's Run projects. 

Our angels on the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

She just noticed.

If you're playing left field in Von Nieda Park, watch your step!

Welcome to Von Nieda Lake--we mean, Von Nieda Park.

They're testing the soil where the new lights will go in Von Nieda Park.

Thanks to Mr. Kevin Walsh for visiting our Student Leaders.

It's not just a pipe dream--the county is actually putting up the new lights in Von Nieda Park! Most of the work should take place April 14. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel, to get lights in Von Nieda Park! 
The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force's first Park Cleanup Day of the year. The audio is poor, but when in doubt, they're saying they're doing their part, and need the county, city, and friends like Cooper's Ferry to do theirs. 

Inviting her friends to the first Von Nieda Park Cleanup Day of the year.

Just some of the 40 people who came to the Von Nieda Park Cleanup Day.

Hail Mary!  Full of Grace!

Since the city put lights on the community center, Von Nieda Park should be a little more un-darked.

We're bored of putting the county on notice that the Notice Board is broken!

Doing their best to make sure Von Nieda Park is never again "The Nation's Most Depressing Park."

We can make a difference, with the help of Rutgers-Camden graphic design students.

"I saw an eyesore, and I took it down."

We'd like the city to remove the graffiti in the park.

It hasn't rained in three days, but the park still looks like this.

People dump doors, windows and all other kinds of stuff in the park.

Six months later, and parts of Von Nieda Park are still a giant mud pit.

The Student Leaders don't want any more awards.  They want action!

Thanks, Ms. Nieves, for your leadership.

Families are key to making our park cleaner and safer.

Is anybody else tired of all the trash in Von Nieda Park?

You're never too young to get involved.

More junk they found dumped in the park.

This turtle coming toward us.

Crazy stuff found in the park.

More crazy stuff.

St. Anthony and Student Leader alumni came to the Cleanup Day.

There's no mistaking we found this in the park.

Three hours' worth of Von Nieda Park cleanup.

There's plenty of trash left for the next Cleanup Day.

Thanks to Mirta, Olga, Maria, Vicky, Antonio and neighbors for the great lunch!

The sewer grates around Von Nieda Park are due for a cleaning.  (It has since been taken care of.)


There are new lights on the Community Center in Von Nieda Park, put up by the city. The county lights should be coming soon in the rest of the park!

Ms. Nieves appeared with Dr. Luis Lopez on his radio show on La Mega with several Student Leaders.

Student Leaders and mentors at the Catholic Schools championship game.

Congratulations to Holy Name Student Leader J'wan on the CPS team's second-place finish.

Camden County, please empty the recying bins!

Our friend Mike teaching our Student Leaders about the concept of The Common Good.

Our park walkers cleaned up Von Nieda Park this morning!

Student Leaders from Cramer Hill and North Camden, and representing St. Anthony's, Holy Name, and LEAP, ready to testify at City Council.

Student Leaders skyping with Sr. Joan of Visions magazine.

Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.


It's not online, but this appeared on page 24 of the March 2014 SJ Magazine (it stands for South Jersey, not Society of Jesus).

Mr. Ray Lamboy discusses public teaching skills with the Student Leaders' North Camden Task Force at Holy Name. 

Student Leaders preparing for next week's City Council meeting.


They're tired of picking up trash on 5th Street in North Camden. The Student Leaders' North Camden Task Force is asking for trash and recycling bins on March 11 at City Council.

We've got to find a way to keep the ATVs and dirt bikes out of Von Nieda Park.

After the first meeting of the Student Leader Task Forces board.

St. Anthony's Student Leaders, with the new Holy Name Student Leaders, with Councilman Luis Lopez after a productive meeting.

Student Leaders on their way to the monthly community meeting in Von Nieda Park. 

Student Leaders holding the Resolution from the Camden County Freeholders awarding a $154,000 contract to improve the lighting in Von Nieda Park.

The Camden County Resolution awarding the contract for $154,000 of new lighting in Von Nieda Park, thanks to the persistence of the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force, and events such as the Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing, and Un-Dark the Park.

St. Anthony's Student Leaders mentor the new Student Leaders' North Camden Task Force as they make their first phone call to an elected official.

We were live (at 11 a.m. Feb. 11) on 1680 am in Camden, with Miguel Arriaga.

Our Student Leaders participated fully in the Camden Churches Organized for People Citywide Meeting. 


The Student Leaders with the citation from Rep. Rob Andrews, "In Honor of the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force", which was entered in the Congressional Record.

Thanks to the Catholic Partnership Schools for this photo.

The letter says "I am proud to honor your leadership and service through this statement in the Congressional Record. Your dedication to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is praiseworthy and an inspiration to all Americans. I join the rest of South Jersey in thanking you for your hard work and commitment last Monday on MLK Day. Best Wishes, Robert E. Andrews, Member of Congress." (To see the full text entered into the Congressional Record click here.)

Ms. Nieves teaching new Student Leaders at Holy Name in North Camden.
Check out the Paint=Hope! video from PNC.

Thanks, Mirta, for the Super Bowl party!

"Hey, someone just texted me that the Super Bowl is on!"

Congratulations to the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

Once the individual who used to live in the woods gave us his go-ahead, and the weather cooperated, we cleaned out his old campsite in Von Nieda Park.

It took a lot of people-power to clean out the woods.

Thanks to our volunteers from Xaverian High School in Brooklyn!

This is just part of what we cleared out of the woods in Von Nieda Park.

Fr. Jud told the FVMs the other night he would bet a million bucks that the SUV parked here would leave behind McDonald's litter. Special bonus: Newports!

Student Leaders ready to enter the Camden SMART (Stormwater Management and Resource Training) Forum at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden.

Student Leaders catching up with Ms. Meishka Mitchell of Cooper's Ferry at the Camden SMART Forum.

Our Student Leaders, and their Assistant Director Mirtha Nieves, checking out the shark tank.

Duuun dun...duuun dun...dun dun dun dun dun dun BOM BOM dun dun dun dun dun dun doo dedoo doo dedoo dede doo...

Did we mention that there was great food?

Look who interns at the aquarium!

Lots of people saw our Student Leaders on the big screen at the Camden SMART(Stormwater Management and Resource Training) Forum.




A little down time after the Camden SMART Forum.

Freeholder Cappelli speaks about this past MLK Day at St. Anthony's, at the Camden County Police Awards Ceremony.

Student Leaders enjoying the articles about their MLK Day of Community Organizing and Un-Dark the Park in this week's Catholic Star Herald. 

Whitney, of CCOP, preparing the small group leaders for the 2014 Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing.

Fior Hernandez of Univision interviewing our Student Leaders.

Sign in, please! We had about 75 students representing 10 schools from Camden and the suburbs (including home schooling) at the MLK Day of Community Organizing.

We had lots of mentors helping out at the MLK Day of Community Organizing. Thanks, Josh and Chris! 

Thanks to Whitney, William and Frank from CCOP (Camden Churches Organized for People) for being group leaders at the MLK Day of Community Organizing.

Thanks to our St. Joe's University friends for leading the interfaith prayer at the MLK Day of Community Organizing.

We shared the dream, at the MLK Day of Community Organizing.
MLK Rap

Sharing his own faith reflection on two years of community organizing through Hope Memorial Baptist Church and CCOP (and still in 7th grade, at St. Cecilia's!).

We are the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force!

Who has the power to change things in Camden? All of the above! 

Role play of a community meeting, at the MLK Day of Community Organizing.

Role play of a community meeting, at the MLK Day of Community Organizing.

Student-led tour of Von Nieda Park, checking out the Paint = Hope! mural on the MLK Day of Community Organizing.

The Student Leaders asked for--and received--more police patrols in Von Nieda Park.

This is the fence the Student Leaders requested from Camden County, to keep dirt bikes and ATVs out of the playground in Von Nieda Park. 

These benches were painted on one of the Student Leaders' Park Cleanup and Paintup Days (yes, they do community service as well as community organizing).

Notice anything about the Student Leaders' shirts?

Thanks to the Old San Juan Restaurant, Eddy's Deli and Grocery, and Riccardo's Pizzeria for the delicious lunch!

Service with a smile, from our friends from St. Joseph's University.

A very special reunion--when Kate and Josh were leading the Civic Engagement class in summer 2011 these current Student Leaders were among their students. Look what you started!

Kristen Nalen, Director of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation at St. Anthony's, was the main coordinator of the day.  Thanks, Kristen!

The students split up into eight small groups, led by Student Leaders and adult mentors.

Despite what the sign says, that's not Mayor Redd. Ray Lamboy had to fill in for her after she had to cancel. But he answered questions just like a mayor!

For two years in a row, Freeholder Louis Cappelli Jr. has come to be interviewed on MLK Day.

Councilman Luis Lopez, a Cramer Hill resident, fielding questions from current and prospective Student Leaders.

While one group of students interviews Freeholder Cappelli, another observes. Then they switch.

"Yes, that's not going to be a budget-breaker."

Several members of the Camden Metro Police joined us.

When you were in middle school, where you interviewing your city councilperson?

This is the type of community interaction the police say they want and need to keep the neighborhood safe.

Use the force!

For most students, it was their first opportunity to have this type of interaction with the police.

It's a wrap! Thanks to all who participated in the 5th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing.

Cooper's Ferry interviewing Student Leaders for the upcoming Camden SMART Forum.


Prepping for the MLK Day of Community Organizing.

Student Leaders ready to speak to prospective new members at Holy Name School in North Camden.

St. Anthony's Student Leaders spoke to Holy Name's after school students.

Student Leaders ready to un-dark Von Nieda Park.

200-250 people filled Von Nieda Park for Un-Dark the Park.


The Student Leaders were the main speakers at Un-Dark the Park, spreading the good news that Camden County will be putting lights in the park this spring.

Thanks to Miguel Arriaga (left) of Miguel's Pharmacy for supporting Un-Dark the Park.

An interview for the Courier-Post after Un-Dark the Park.


Thanks to the Salvation Army for the hot chocolate!

Thanks to the Camden County Metro Police for accompanying us at Un-Dark the Park.

You're Never Too Young to be at a community organizing event.

The park was un-darked, thanks to a hundred flashlights donated by Miguel's Pharmacy, and Hargrove Demolition's floodlights.

Click on the photo above for a Courier Post story on Un-Dark the Park.

Un-Darking Von NIeda Park.




A great turnout from St. Anthony of Padua School.






Click on the photo above for a photo gallery of Un-Dark the Park at NJ.com

Receiving the Student Leaders' Commendation from City Councilman Luis Lopez.


Student Leaders with City Council.

Sharing a chuckle with City Council.

City Hall is one of the Student Leaders' favorite photo venues.

Our Student Leaders with their mentors in the studios of 1680 AM, La Unika. Thanks to Miguel Arriaga for arranging this opportunity. 

On the air!

Mike, friend of the Student Leaders, gets a tour of Von Nieda Park.

Do these PSE&G flags mean work will start soon in Von Nieda Park?

Though park workers stop doing their thing during winter, litterers don't.

Happy New Year from Von Nieda Park!

Another day's trash in Von Nieda Park.

The warm weather Saturday allowed Br. Juan to apply anti-graffiti varnish to the Paint=Hope! mural. Thanks to the City of Camden for supplying the varnish.

Yes, it's one of those days that happens all too often when you realize some people will undo in one minute what good people spent hours to improve. 

People intentionally drive over the grass, ruining what the county just fixed up.

They've turned Von Nieda Park into a giant mudpit.


Graffiti artists are now tagging our recycling bins.

Trash and recyclables picked up by Fr. Jud and Lupe during their morning walk. We've asked the parks department to clean up the rest.


Thanks to the efforts of the Von Nieda Park Task Force in seeking help, several different service providers are helping the homeless person living near Von Nieda Park.


Mike Skinner visits the Student Leaders.

They graffitied the handball wall.

As Fr. Hugh said, this is a sad rainbow of drug vials in Von Nieda Park. And he found six more on the way to the trash can.

Yes, this is the same warehouse that used to be covered with graffiti, and where the sidewalk would be covered with weeds and broken glass. Thanks go to Br. Juan, the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force, and many friends and parishioners.

In November, the tire ruts the Student Leaders have been asking about since June were filled in with soil and grass seed.

Student leaders and mentors ready for their trip to City Hall.

Strategy session before the trip to City Hall.

Rehearsing one last time before the Town Hall Meeting at City Hall.

Mirta speaking up at the Camden County Freeholders' Town Hall Meeting at City Hall.

A Student Leader speaking with Freeholder Cappelli at the freeholders' Town Hall Meeting.

Front row seats for the Camden County Freeholders' Town Hall Meeting at City Hall.

Sign in, please.

Many thanks to Christine Healey deVaull and Mayor Dana Redd (far right) for joining us for the Paint=Hope! mural painting in Von Nieda Park.

A beehive of activity, painting the Extreme Painting and Power Coating warehouse in Von Nieda Park.

Nelmaris being interviewed by the Courier Post.

"You missed a spot!"

"I can do this with my eyes closed!"

It was a beautiful day for painting the Extreme Painting and Powder Coating warehouse in Von Nieda Park.

Alex filling in the details on the mural.

Me and my shadow...

Flor de Luz.

Making Lupe look so real.

A film crew from Deutsch in New York City interviews Br. Juan about the artistic aspects of the mural painting.

Sweet!

Sandra helping the birds take flight.

More flower power.

Mentors and friends of the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

This is going to be very good...

Two of the Student Leaders are interviewed about the Paint=Hope! project by Deutsch of New York City, sent by PNC.

"Go ahead, Padre. Have a third!" (He did.)

Members of the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force, by their Paint=Hope! mural.

Artists only.

Paint=Hope!

Just a reminder of what this wall looked like just a few months ago.

Br. Juan and Grace saw police patrols in the park. Maybe it worked. Only 4 drug vials found this morning, 11/15.

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force monthly meeting in the Cramer Hill Community Center. A good turnout, but none of the county freeholders or their assistants attended.

A slow night? Only 9 vials and a baggie found in the 2-minute pickup this morning in front of the Community Center.

Click on this photo above to see an article in thePhiladelphia Inquirer about the Student Leaders at City Council.

Even though the Student Leaders were received well last night at City Council, a record 2-minute harvest this morning: 15 drug vials, 3 baggies and a beer bottle, within 75 feet of Community Center.

Pat Keating, the director of Public Works, usually sends a crew out right away when we report a problem.

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force after a successful night at City Council.

Thanks to Vicky for accompanying our Student Leaders to the City Council meeting at City Hall.

After speaking at City Council, the Student Leaders attended the CCOP Citywide.

Supporting their fellow student leaders at the Camden City Council meeting. 

Two student leaders making their points to Camden City Council President Frank Moran.

Too windy for the usual photo shoot, but this is this morning's 2-minute collection in front of the Cramer Hill Community Center in Von Nieda Park: 12 drug vials, 1 baggie, and a booze sampler.

Leaves aren't the only things falling in Von Nieda Park.  The Department of Public Works has been notified.

One way to eliminate evidence of drug use in Von Nieda Park--steamroll it!  (Actually, they are repaving today.)

Br. Juan and the Student Leaders are making great progress on the mural in Von Nieda Park. We'll paint again on Saturday, Nov. 16, and PNC is sending a film crew from NY to interview our Student Leaders. Should be 58 and sunny so come join us!

11 drug vials collected in this morning's 2-minute sweep (11/9/13). Pretty impressive considering they're repaving the lot and probably swept up even more.

Student Leaders keeping the Von Nieda Park notice board up to date.

Student Leaders working on the mural in Von Nieda Park, thanks to a grant from PNC.

Vicky is always ready to help.

Hard at work on the mural in Von Nieda Park.

Br. Juan is a great teacher! 

It's Lupe!

Br. Juan admiring his young artists at work.

Flower power.

Getting the whole neighborhood involved! 

Play ball!

Grace before lunch.

Happy Birthday!

Bringing the lunch to the Student Leaders. 

They are repaving the parking lot area of Reeves Avenue in Von Nieda Park.

Thanks to John Wolick and the Camden County Parks Department for replacing the broken Plexiglas in the Von Nieda Park playground in less than a week.

This morning's (11/8/13) 2-minute collection: 14 drug vials in front of the Cramer Hill Community Center in Von Nieda Park, that were not there 24 hours ago. 

Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force in their weekly class and strategy session.

This morning's 2-minute collection of evidence of drug and alcohol use from the Community Center parking lot, all from the past 24 hours.

They're trimming the trees, which should make it lighter at night.

Found in 2 minutes within 75 feet of Cramer Hill Community Center in Von Nieda Park.

The Student Leaders were present and presented at St. Anthony's Local Organizing Committee meeting.

Who trimmed the trees in Von Nieda Park?  We're stumped.

A fallen tree blocks the back entrance to Von Nieda Park.

The mural is looking great in Von Nieda Park!

Thanks to John Wolick of the parks department for his quick same-day response, removing the dead tree limb that was over the noticeboard.

After finding so many beer and liquor bottles, and crack and marijuana vials in Von Nieda Park, this is bound to happen.

Momentous occasion on November 3. For the first time in 8 years here, Fr. Jud saw one of the morning park walkers (seen in distance) go off the path, pick up a bottle, and put it in the recycling bin. So we've gone from them throwing trash to doing nothing to thanking Fr. Jud for picking it up to doing it themselves! Mission accomplished!

Flaco getting the wall of the warehouse ready for painting the mural.

Ice breaker to start the Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day.

Mike, new owner of the warehouse, having a ball.

Tell us your name, and your hope for the day.

Mother and son, mixing it up.

The color purple--best for this type of mural.

Thanks to PNC's Neighborhood Wishist program for giving our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force $500 for their Art=Hope! project.

Br. Juan and a Student Leader discussing the mural going up on the warehouse by Von Nieda Park, thanks to a grant from PNC.

It's great to see Br. Karl out and about again.

Mayor Redd stopped by to congratulate our Student Leaders.

James joining in.

Student Leaders discussing their painting of benches in Von Nieda Park.

"You missed a subcontinent!"

It's hard to believe there was still so much garbage and recycling in the park, even after the corrections department sweep through.

Staying hydrated on a 69 degree day in November.

Making the world a better place. 

After over a month, the recycling bin has been emptied!

They can't wait to start painting again!

Thanks to our 6th Grade homeroom teacher Ms. Gest for joining us on the Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day.

Not long ago, this bench was graffiti-covered.

Our neighbor Delores is thrilled to see these improvements to Von Nieda Park.


We will let the police know about the dozens of crack and marijuana vials that were found right outside the Cramer Hill Community Center when we have our November 15 Von Nieda Park Community Meeting, which will be held in that same Community Center.

We had a wonderful turnout of our younger students on a day when our 8th graders were taking a test at Camden Catholic High School. 29 people in all attended.

Keep Camden Clean!

Let the sun shine in!

The best looking back of a bench in Camden.

We are the world!

High winds caused this huge branch to crash down on the notice board in the Von Nieda Park playground, breaking the plexiglas.

Good thing nobody was hurt when this limb came down.

Saying Grace before lunch.

Next thing you know, she'll be offering crushed black pepper.

Thanks to our Student Leaders mentor Mirta for hosting us for another great cookout!  And thanks to Frankie Fontanez for paying for the food.  We can't wait until the next Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day in March.

Meanwhile, back at the mural...

We think the community is going to like this mural! Thanks to the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force for getting the grant from PNC's Neighborhood Wishlist program, and to our artists Br. Juan and Edwin (center left and center right).

We now appear to have at least two homeless persons who have set up campsites in Von Nieda Park. We are trying to arrive at the best way to resolve the situation.

An unretouched photo of Von Nieda Park at 7:11 a.m. This is the area where moms walk their kids to our school in the morning. It's also the area where the Student Leaders were promised lighting would be improved, back in March and in July, by a county freeholder and a city councilman. If you think about it, it's kind of absurd, isn't it, that you need a task force of 6th-8th graders to get public servants to put lights in a dark park, to empty recycling bins that are full, to replace basketball nets that are torn, etc. Aren't those supposed to be people's jobs, that they get paid to do?

The Camden County Parks Department took the fence in Von Nieda Park, and has brought it back and secured it to hopefully deter theft.

The first sketch of Danny and Br. Juan's collaboration on a mural for the warehouse in Von Nieda Park. Come on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 9:30 a.m. to the Cleanup and Paintup Day in Von Nieda Park to help make it become a reality.

Looks like someone took the first step toward stealing the chain link fence in Von Nieda Park by Hayes Avenue.

This is Von Nieda Park at 7 p.m. We were promised $60,000 of new lighting installed by October, and are still waiting.

Mr. Frank McLaughlin of the Department of Environmental Protection fielding questions from the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.
Mr. McLaughlin showing the Student Leaders where Von Nieda Park is on the map.

Going over notes with our Student Leaders as they prepare to make comments on a proposed $5.4 million project by the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority that would affect Von Nieda Park.

Our Student Leaders were the only people present to give comments on the proposed $5.4 million project.

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force at the public hearing to solicit comments on a proposed $5.4 million project by the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority.

A little celebration after a public hearing well done.

People are recycling in Von Nieda Park. We hope the county can empty the barrels soon.

We've asked the county to replace the glass in the Von Nieda Park Notice Board along Hayes Avenue.  Whatever they used to remove the graffiti left a large smudge, making it difficult to read the notices.

It's an almost daily occurrence in Von Nieda Park.  We will be suggesting ways to secure the cans to prevent people from tipping them over.

Someone set these papers on fire in Von Nieda Park.

We're tired of people dumping stuff in Von Nieda Park. (These tires were picked up promptly, within 24 hours of this photo being taken.)

For the second month in a row, our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force meeting started late while we waited for the city to open the Cramer Hill Community Center. As always, we reserve the center one month in advance. The next meeting is 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 15.

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force noticed this hole along the sidewalk in Von Nieda Park, and reported it to the city and the county. Thanks to John Wolick and the County Parks Department for their speedy response in filling it in.

He was just pretending, but this shows how deep the hole was in Von Nieda Park along River Road, and how hazardous it was to park users and pedestrians until it was repaired.

This is just one day's worth of recyclables, in just one section of Von Nieda Park. We need more recycling bins. This is in our minutes from our April 2, 2013 meeting: . "Mr. Wolick also said that the requested recycling bins are currently in production and will be installed in the park soon, as well as 8 new trash cans. "

We are so happy that the new owner of the warehouse on Reeves is doing the right thing. The building and yard have never looked better. 

People are tipping over the trash cans, moving them, and setting fires in them in Von Nieda Park. Officials are not returning our calls or e-mails. The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force will be taking appropriate action shortly.

Thanks to the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force, the county repainted the crossing stripes by Von Nieda Park.
Another victory for the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force!

Gooooooal! The county fixed the soccer goalpost in Von Nieda Park, and the new warehouse owner painted over the graffiti!

Thumbs down for the tipped over trash barrel in Von Nieda Park. Thumbs up for the repaired soccer goal, and the new paint on the warehouse walls to cover the graffiti--until we put the murals there!

More evidence of why we need a way to discourage people from tipping over the trash and recycling barrels in Von Nieda Park.

"That's my picture!"

Snip snip here...

The graffiti is gone!

Mike, the new owner of the warehouse across from the park, will let us paint a beautiful mural on it!

Is it a new dance, or are they clearing branches?

ATVs have turned Von Nieda Park into a giant mudpit!

It's a paint-up!

Graffiti busters!

Looking ready for a face-off.

Good painting is 90% prep work.

Von Nieda Park has never looked cleaner.

Good hopscotch painting is 95% prep work.

"You missed a spot!"

This part of the park look great now, too!

"I have a vested interest in making this bench look good."

Almost done...

They're too young to know about the Teaberry Shuffle. But they can Google it!

It's a benchmark for beautiful artwork in Von Nieda Park.

Taking a break after a morning of cleaning and painting in Von Nieda Park.

Mirta's backyard is a great place to celebrate after another successful Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day, co-sponsored by the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force and Miguel's Pharmacy.

Thanks to Miguel's Pharmacy for subsidizing our lunch!

Neighbor Power is making Von Nieda Park a great community asset again.

She's relishing the opportunity to prepare Fr. Jud's turkey burger.

Friar Spatulahands.

Thanks to Grace for helping with the Student Leaders' PowerPoint presentation, and the snacks!

Thanks to Kristen for doing most of the translating!

"Yes, we love being Student Leaders!"

Some of the families, LOC members, and staff at the Student Leaders' presentation.

Dr. Burke is very proud of the Student Leaders!

Student Leaders prepping for next week's presentation.

What happened to the beautiful banners next to the sign?  (See photo below.) We hope they weren't stolen.

.For a story about the Cramer Hill Victory Tour in the Catholic Star Herald that mentions our Student Leaders, click here.

Someone burned the trash barrel in Von Nieda Park. 

It didn't take long for some punks to graffiti this recently painted bench in Von Nieda Park.

Jorge and his daughter Vianca ready to start the Cramer Hill Victory Tour, telling how the State Street Bridge Committee got work going on the new State Street Bridge so it finished on time. 

The community celebrating that the new State Street Bridge is open, and the old one can be used by pedestrians and bicyclists. The bridge would not have opened on time were it not for the efforts of St. Anthony's State Street Bridge Committee.

Kristen at the State Street Bridge, describing another community organizing victory on 22nd Street where a youth home is now running smoothly.

Thanks to the State Street Bridge Local Organizing Committee at St. Anthony's, the new State Street Bridge was opened on schedule. ¡Sí se puede! ¡Sí! ¡Sí! CCOP! 

Victory for community organizing at the State Street Bridge! 

Mirta showing an image of the abandoned house that used to sit on this lot for years. Now it's part of the Cramer Hill Victory Tour.

Getting a close-up view of what this lot used to look like--an awful abandoned house.

Members of the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force ready to share their success story on the Cramer Hill Victory Tour.

Cramer Hill residents and friends enjoying the Student Leaders' presentation in Von Nieda Park. 

Kristen leading reflection on the Mustard Seed parable at the end of the Cramer Hill Victory Tour.

Mr. Shahid Rana of Cooper's Ferry explaining how the new $5 million project of the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority will affect Von Nieda Park and Baldwin's Run, starting in Spring 2014.

Your Fall 2013 Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force hanging out after another successful Von Nieda Park meeting.

Student Leaders and friends getting an update from officials from Cooper's Ferry and the Department of Environmental Protection on the plan to control the flooding in Von Nieda Park.

Pointing out another wasp's nest in Von Nieda Park.

So that's why so many recycling barrels are tipped over by the basketball courts!

We're glad to see so many children using Von Nieda Park again! 

Taking advantage of a beautiful September evening to walk in Von Nieda Park. 

Your Summer Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force taking a pause during their weekly inspection of the park.

Do the people in the photos on the wall look familiar???

That's quite a wasp nest in Von Nieda Park.  (The county parks department removed it within 24 hours of it being reported.)

Thanks to Victor and Christian, freshmen at Rutgers-Camden, and their classmates for cleaning up Von Nieda Park as part of their orientation Day of Service.

For the fourth time this summer, River Road flooded in Von Nieda Park. 

Our Student Leaders will be contacting Cooper's Ferry to find out when the flooding remediation project, which according to the city has been fully funded, will begin.

Camden Fire and Rescue helping people out of their vehicles stranded on River Road.

The Camden Fire Department had to send their rescue team, to get the people who were stuck in the flood on River Road.

Think of all the financial costs incurred during heavy rains, when homes are flooded, vehicles are stranded and often ruined, and emergency personnel have to be called.

One of Camden's fire fighters, after successfully rescuing someone from the minivan stuck in the flood on River Road. 

Student Leaders, and friends, at St. Anthony's Local Organizing Committee.


Signing in for the Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day.



Ready for a morning of trimming, painting, and picking.



"On your inbounds pass, never look the guy in the eye."



Signing in for the Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day, Part II.



Graffiti busters!



Weed busters! 



Putting heart into Von Nieda Park. 



In the prime of their lives. 



Taking pride in the park.



Things are picking up in Von Nieda Park. 



Taking a monkey bar break.



Thanks to the Department of Public Works and the Police for their help! 



Can you come up with a good caption for this photo?



We're tired of people getting stuck in the mud in Von Nieda Park.



A new look for the benches in Von Nieda Park.



"Does it look good if I do it this way?" 



"Yep, it looks good!"



Nice! 



Really nice! 



A nice break after a lot of work! 



No, it's not spray paint, it's Pam! (Thanks, Mirta, for the nice cookout for the Student Leaders and volunteers.) 



A nice break after a lot of work! 


"Are you gonna eat all that???" 

Click here and scroll down to page 3 to see a photo of our Student Leaders on a Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day.  

We just painted this wall white last month, so someone is upset! We hope to change this into a Community Expression Wall on our next Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day.

We just painted this wall white last month, so some people are very upset! We hope to paint over the graffiti again on our next Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day.


We will ask Camden County to remove the graffiti on the playground in Von Nieda Park.

We have asked Camden County to repair the holes in the fence around the tennis court in Von Nieda Park.

We hope to repaint benches on our next Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day.

We hope to paint over the graffiti on our next Von Nieda Park Cleanup and Paintup Day.

We are working with officials to help the person(s) living in the woods behind the backstop.

The Student Leaders, and neighbor Mirta Nieves, after a productive meeting.
 
This is what Von Nieda Park looks like after street flooding from a heavy rain, and vehicles take short cuts over the grass. The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force will be asking Camden County and Cooper's Ferry to bring equipment out to fix this and the other affected areas of the park.

And up through the sewer came a bubbling crude--raw sewage that is.  Raw sewage coming up through the manhole on River Road near Von Nieda Park.. Our Student Leaders will be following up with Cooper's Ferry. The project to fix this was to have started this past spring.


Driving through rainwater and raw sewage on River Road.
The new fence is in around the playground in Von Nieda Park. Thanks to the Student Leaders for asking for it on April 7 in an e-mail to county and city officials!

Putting the final touches on the new fence in Von Nieda Park.

The fence is going in around the playground in Von Nieda Park.

Does recycling work in Von Nieda Park?  We think so!

Angel Osorio visits our Community Organizing class to talk about an exciting idea for our youth.

Another flood on River Road at Von Nieda Park. A car is stuck in the water, yet others still try to get through, and the police have not blocked off the road. 

This pile of tires was dumped overnight, but the Department of Public Works is on it, and will remove them Saturday or Monday.  (However, they're still there a week later, August 5.)

The setup is the most important part of painting. 

"This is how we do it..."

Thanks to the 33 volunteers cleaning and painting, and to the Crowley Maritime cookout masters.

She loves pink! 

Let us spray...

Just half of the group that made this our biggest Von Nieda Cleanup and Paintup Day ever.

Sign in please.

Thanks to our friend and artist William Butler.


Graffiti busters part 1.

Graffiti busters part 2. 

Picking and grinning.

These twins would not intentionally get paint on a friar? Would they?

The final barrel gets painted! Yea! 

Thanks to Ronja's weeding, the flowers look great.

They're invested in their mother-daughter relationship.

Snip snip here...

Thanks to Crowley Maritime for the great food!

Thanks to Crowley for letting us get into the big rig--including the refrigerated unit to cool off!
 Wow! Von Nieda Park has become a visual treat for the eyes.

Mr. Randy Keesler of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development visits Von Nieda Park with our Student Leaders. 

Freeholder Louis Cappelli, Jr., greeting the students. — at Camden County Police Headquarters.

Thanks to Camden County for the photo.

Thanks to Joyce Gabriel of Camden County for helping arrange the tour of police headquarters.

Chief Thomson showing students the Eye in the Sky control room.

Thanks to Chief Thomson for the tour of Police Headquarters.

The Rain Garden is doing its part, but it's obviously not enough.

Looks like the Rain Garden survived the big rain! 

City Council President and Director of Camden County Parks Mr. Frank Moran explains to the Student Leaders where the new fence will go to protect the Von Nieda Playground from ATVs.

The engineers and landscape architect listening to our Student Leaders' ideas about which parts of Von Nieda Park need more lighting.

Von Nieda Park becomes Von Nieda Lake after a big rain.

Thankfully Br. Jerry's Garden (left) and the Playground at Ron's House (right) were high enough to avoid being flooded.

Cars stuck in the water--a combination of storm water and sewage--on River Road.

Lupe has a flair for the dramatic.

River Road--closed again after a big rain.

Pre-trip prayer in the parking lot.

Our first stop in Washington, D.C.: the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

For some illumination before their presentation.

St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, Patroness of Immigrants, pray for us.
Mother Teresa, pray for us.

Our Lady of Divine Providence, pray for us.

Pre-presentation prayer.

Ain't that the truth!
Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (aka, kids at a church).

Any shade helps when the heat index is 105.

We'll get a bell tower like that some day at St. Anthony's!

A warm welcome at the USCCB.
Fran of the Holy Name Province Office of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation greeting our students.

Our host Ralph McCloud, Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, introducing our Student Leaders.

A wonderful and sizable group of people from all over the Washington area came to the Student Leaders' Presentation: "Community Organizing: You're Never Too Young."

A lot of people are taking the Student Leaders seriously now.
Tameka Bell of the PICO Network finding out more about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Community Organizing.

Thanks to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for hosting us, and to all the guests who attended.

Wheee!  Once you figure out the fare cards, empty your bank account, and climb the broken escalators, this thing goes pretty fast!

"Do the red lights mean we're going to need to add money to our fare cards again?"

Metro mosh pit.

Who sight sees in D.C. on the hottest day of the year? We do!

He gets the point--we're trying to visit as many monuments and memorials as possible today!

She's basing her title on being the first to get to the Jefferson Memorial.

We're moving on up, to the East Side of the Tidal Basin.

Thomas Jefferson--he's cool.

The United States' third President looking over some potential future ones.

Enjoying the Jefferson Memorial. 

Winners of two state and one national Jefferson Awards for Youth Service, for the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Community Organizing.

It's pretty impressive when you can chill even when it's 100 degrees outside.

Thanks to Colleen, Karin and Lauryn for all their great work with the Student Leaders.

Which is the first book in the Bible to talk about water? She should know!

Thanks to whoever incorporated water into the design of the FDR Memorial.

Enjoyng the FDR Memorial.

Let my people go--to the next memorial.

Not a bad role model!

The first a few hot dogs he'd enjoy today.

Lots of good things to ponder at the FDR Memorial.

After winning an award for the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Community Organizing, we had to stop here.

Feels so good.
We know someone who lives a few blocks away who should come to the 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Community Organizing.

Now it makes sense--he's the man on the penny!

Who is Washington's quarterback, anyway?

A very important spot in American history.

Thanks, Andrew, for walking over from the United States Institute of Peace to visit with us.

A good representation of Notre Damers, with Andrew, Colleen, Karin and Fr. Jud.

Kind of has an Excalibur feel to it.

A powerful experience at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 

Next year, we'll bike it.

We went to his house. Will he come to ours?

"We'd fit right in there!"

Catching up on his protein intake after a long day of presenting and sightseeing.
Her prayers have been answered!

"May I have some???"

Thanks to Br. George, Fr. Tom, and all the friars at Holy Name College for their hospitality!

Student Leaders can't community organize on an empty stomach!

Pepperoni pizza para preparar el Power Point.

Student Leaders prepping for their July 16 trip to D.C.

A new group of Student Leaders getting a tour of Von Nieda Park.

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force supports the arts. 
Where are the 2020 Olympics?

What's up?

Enjoying Von Nieda Park.

From this photo it's hard to believe 18 months ago Von Nieda Park was nicknamed "The Nation's Most Depressing Park"...

...but not so hard when you look at this one.where people drive on the grass when the street floods. Our Student Leaders brought this to the attention of the county, and they will bring out a bulldozer and backhoe once the weather dries out.

Before: look how the handball wall was filled with graffiti.

"You missed a spot!"

Almost there!

After: it looks great, and after our July 27 cleanup day, it will be covered with art!

Even though we didn't need all the tools today, thanks to the Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation for lending them to us.

This will take a few coats. Better order pizza!

It's a miracle! The hatchback is open! (Actually, Br. Karl just showed us where the lock is.)

Roll out the barrel...

Our Student Leaders placed a trash can next to each recycling bin, to make recycling as user friendly as possible. In Von Nieda Park, that's real important!

Picking up litter is one way of Karin for the park.

Who says garbage cans need to be boring?

We're rolling now!

Thanks, Riccardo's, for the pizza.

Yes, thanks for the pizza!

Part of the large group at the Von Nieda Park meeting, with our Student Leaders on the right.

Telling the Courier Post how the meeting went.  Click here for the article.

Keeping the Von Nieda Park notice board up to date.

A lake by a golf course? No, it's the puddle that stays in left field for days after it rains in Von Nieda Park.

Our Student Leaders at the CCOP LOC meeting on June 11.

This is what Von Nieda Park looks like after it rains. Those are tire tracks from people who drive on the grass to get out of the flooded streets. The million dollar drainage project was supposed to start this summer, but has been delayed. We will discuss it with Cooper's Ferry on June 21 at the Von Nieda Park Meeting.





Ready for the Jefferson Awards for Youth Service to begin at Burlington County College's Enterprise Center.
"That's us on the screen!"

Student Leaders, and our Franciscan and Notre Dame volunteers, waiting for the awards to begin.

The audience was glad to learn that 6th, 7th and 8th graders are doing such great work in Camden.

Filling in some details on our work in Von Nieda Park. The Jefferson Award was given for their work on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Community Organizing.


Rowena Madden and Jack Callahan congratulating our Student Leaders.
Our Students Leaders with their certificates for winning Jefferson Awards.

This year's South Jersey Jefferson Award winners for Youth Service.
Thanks to Karen Hatcher for her great support of our Student Leaders.
Our Student Leaders with Chris, who also won a Jefferson Award for great service while battling brain cancer.

Thanks to the Jefferson Awards for a great dessert reception.

A fringe benefit of doing great work--great desserts!

Girl power!

Our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force, winners of a New Jersey Jefferson Award for Youth Service.

This is our park!

Maybe this will keep people from trying to drive through the park!

Oh no!  They're dumping trash again in Von Nieda Park.
Community organizing--it's all about the jelly beans!
The handball wall was graffitied again in Von Nieda Park on June 6.

We now recycle in Von Nieda Park!

Student Leaders in the shadow of City Hall.

"That's my name!"

Congratulations to the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force on their 2013 Mayor's Youth Council Award, and a commendation from the Camden County Board of Freeholders.

After a long evening, water ice!

Here come the Nuns on the Bus!

Student leaders preparing to greet the sisters.

Explaining to the sisters how the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force started.

Showing how we get things done: "Hello, County Parks Department, someone vandalized the swings in Von Nieda Park."

Student Leaders and Nuns on the Bus at the mural on the Cramer Hill Community Center.

Sharing about community organizing.

Describing some of the accomplishments of the Student Leaders.

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, sharing some wisdom with the Student Leaders.

Lauryn (right) has been helping guide the Student Leaders all year.

No longer "The Nation's Most Depressing Park"!

Thanks for visiting Von Nieda Park! 

Saying bye to the Nuns on the Bus as they head to the immigration rally at St. Joe's Pro-Cathedral.

 Our Student Leaders were the first student group to get a tour of the Crowley Maritime operation on Petty's Island.

Student Leaders in their first boardroom, but probably not their last.

The Student Leaders reflecting on their experience.

Our Student Leaders got a great tour of the Crowley Maritime operation on Petty's Island.

"Miss Alex, this is the vest field trip ever!"

We had no idea all this was on Petty's Island.

Now we know where all those Crowley trailers on River Road are going. 

Enlightening our Student Leaders.

Thanks to Crowley Maritime for letting our Student Leaders barge in.

There's something Abbey Roadish about this.

Camden Clean Day in Von Nieda Park.






Mayor Dana Redd and Councilman Luis Lopez lending a hand.









The Student Leaders helped publicize the Camden County  Public Safety Awareness Day and Bike Rodeo.




A hazard in the outfield in Von Nieda Park.

Graffiti on the notice board in Von Nieda Park.

Notice board in Von Nieda Park vandalized again, May 16.

Congratulations to our Student Leaders, for their article (and pictures) in NETWORK Connection magazine.

A future leader, who's also a current leader, at the Local Organizing Committee.

Members of the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force ready to give their presentation at CCOP's annual spring fundraiser at Cooper River Boathouse.

One of our very professional Student Leader greeters.

"I'm in that picture!"

Our other very professional Student Leader greeter.

We had them at the first slide!
"It's almost as pretty as Von Nieda Park!"

Standing by a river...

Basking in the glow of another well received SLVNPTF presentation.

The St. Anthony's contingent at the CCOP annual spring fundraiser.

Jerri's new friends.

It was a great night for the Student Leaders.

Student Leaders ready, just in case Univision starts filming.

Who's got the real power in the room?

Chief Thomson shares a few words with Mayor Redd and Governor Christie.

Our Student Leaders with newly sworn-in Metro Police Chief John Scott Thomson.

Freeholder Cappelli gave our Student Leaders some Von Nieda Park updates at the swearing-in of Metro Police Chief Thomson.

Mayor Redd had requested that our Student Leaders attend the swearing-in of Metro Police Chief Thomson.  (As one student said, "This made me want to go into politics.")

The trash cans look very nice in Von Nieda Park. Now if the people would just use them...

Lupe likes the flowers in Von Nieda Park.

Lupe approves of the newly decorated trash cans in Von Nieda Park, too.

 Thanks to Ms. Klingler, and so many of our Student Leaders, for turning out for Comcast Cares Day in Von Nieda Park.

Comcast Cares Day in Von Nieda Park.

Impatiens are a virtue, on Comcast Cares Day in Von Nieda Park.


The bench used to be full of graffiti too.

The "before" picture on Comcast Cares Day in Von Nieda Park.

The "after" picture on Comcast Cares Day in Von Nieda Park.

The greening of Von Nieda Park on Comcast Cares Day.

Painting the handball wall on Comcast Cares Day in Von Nieda Park.

The Spring 2013 Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force


Whitney of CCOP helping our Student Leaders get their presentation ready for next week.

Rayna Johnson of Crowley Trucking meets our Student Leaders.  She went to CCD at St. Anthony's!

Someone paintballed our sign.  (But within 24 hours it was cleaned up. Thanks, County Parks Department!)

Fr. Jud and student leaders at the Camden SMART Environmental Heroes awards.

Mayor Dana Redd awarding an Environmental Heroes award to St. Anthony's.

Informing the crowd that after 11 months of asking the county, it will now provide recycling barrels for Von Nieda Park.

Our Student Leaders were recognized for their environmental work in Von Nieda Park, Alex for her work with Friends of Francis, Kristen for Br. Jerry's Garden, and Fr. Jud for finding the right people to do great environmental work!

St. Anthony's Environmental Heroes with Mayor Dana Redd.

Girl/Woman Power--Our Environmental Heroes, with Meishka Mitchell of Cooper's Ferry.

Someone took a chunk out of this bench in Von Nieda Park.

Why do people destroy what we try to build up?

"We can't stand what they've done to our benches!"

Lots of trash in the park near the ball fields by Hayes Avenue.

What an entrance to Von Nieda Park!

Our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force wants to do something about this entrance to the park, near New Jersey American Water.

Lots of debris in the part of the park near New Jersey American Water.

Branches and debris in the part of the park near Arthur Avenue.

After making the rounds to inspect the park, a little fun.


After our fun, we noticed that the Von Nieda Park swing set is missing some bolts!

Calling the head of the Parks Department, to let him know about those missing bolts.

"Nonviolence begins with me!"

Councilman Luis Lopez speaks of the progress in Cramer Hill, and announces that thanks to the requests of our Student Leaders, Camden County will be spending $60,000 to improve the lighting in Von Nieda Park.

Wouldn't this warehouse by Von Nieda Park look great with murals from our students on it, instead of graffiti? Even though our students did not get the grant they applied for, which would have paid for an artist to help them paint several murals in and around the park, they're not giving up!

Community stakeholders at the Von Nieda Park community meeting chaired by the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

Great conversation at the Von Nieda Park community meeting chaired by the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.  After we have been asking for them since May 18, the county will put recycling bins in Von Nieda Park.  Also, they will plant flowers in the park this spring.

As of April 11, this litter has been in Von Nieda Park for months.  We will discuss it at our April 12 meeting.


Jeff showing our Student Leaders his plans to improve our Von Nieda Park notice boards as his Eagle Scout project.

Our students leaders visited South Camden to speak with some young(er) listeners interested in their work in Von Nieda Park.

Dr. Jackie Agostini and AnaMaria Vergara presenting three of our Student Leaders with Peace t-shirts. They had given a presentation at Sacred Heart last month on their work with the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

Our two Captains attended this meeting of the Cramer Hill LOC (Local Organizing Committee).

Our Student Leaders have worked hard to get these Pedestrian Crossing signs, to protect all our students.

Please, drivers, respect our new Pedestrian Crossing sign!

The pole on the right has been tilting since Oct. 3, 2012, when it was hit by a truck. Five months later, it's still there. PSE&G was transferring some of the wires over on March 2, 2013, but said the other companies (cable, telephone) take their time unless the pole is actually falling into the street. The Von Nieda task forces will look into this.

Another successful, and large, meeting of the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force which brought together many community stakeholders.

Our Student Leaders hope to have a Von Nieda Park cleanup day with New Jersey American Water in March; but until then, we keep asking them to keep the area in front of their property tidy.

Thanks to the Cramer Hill CDC for the new sign. Hopefully drivers will stop using them for target practice. 

No it's not snow, it's litter. We're counting on the city and county to clean up Von Nieda park before the Student Leaders' next cleanup day which will be in March.

Looks like someone wants to smoke in Von Nieda Park.  (This sign was fixed within a few days. Thank you!)

For an oldie-but-goodie video from 2007, showing at least one of our Student Leaders back in 2nd grade, click here.  The video shows the Camden Children's Garden "Grow Lab" which is just one reason why we want to keep the Children's Garden alive and well in Camden.
For a link to Claudia Vargas' "Camden Flow" blog on thePhiladelphia Inquirer website that mentions our Student Leaders. click here.

Waiting for Sr. Simone Campbell's keynote at Sacred Heart Peace Community's Gathering for Peace and Justice. 

A cold day to give a presentation on community organizing!

Our students sharing during their presentation on the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

It's all about peace and justice.

The "nun on the bus" meets the "students on the van."

Some post-lunch sharing at the Gathering for Peace and Justice.

Sr. Simone's presentation on lobbying.

Ms. Klingler and our Student Leaders at the Student Service Showcase, sponsored by Student in Action at Rowan University.

Giving a presentation on the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force. 

Our Student Leaders were resource people for small group discussions.

Table discussions at the Students in Action workshop at Rowan University.

We might come to Rowan just for the food! 

Our Student Leaders designing the "Pop" (Power of Positivity) project.

"Pop" was the winner of the "design a project" competition. Congratulations to our Student Leaders, and their friends from Washington Township. 

Congratulations to our Students Leaders and their friends from Washington Township for their wining proposal in the "design a project" competition.



The Students in Action workshop at Rowan University.

Within 24 hours of reporting this trash in Von Nieda Park, it was cleaned up.  (Also, the mattresses that had been in the woods for weeks were removed.)

One of our two notice boards in Von Nieda Park is functional again. Thanks to the county for the new glass.
 We're seeking New Jersey American Water's cooperation in keeping the fence around their property bordering Von Nieda Park clean.


Signing in at the 4th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing.

This must be the place!

Kristen addressing the 75 people in attendance at the only day dedicated to community organizing on Martin Luther King Day in the country.

Pastor Amarylis leading the opening interfaith prayer.

M & M icebreaker.

The youth group of Camden's Faith Tabernacle Church doing a skit about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Praise Dance by the Youth Drama Team of Camden's Faith Tabernacle Church.
Click on the picture below for a brief mention of our Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing in the Catholic Star Herald.
mlk

Never too young!
To see an online article about our Student Leaders, including that photo above, click here.

Yes, it's the only Day of Community Organizing in the entire country on Martin Luther King Day.

Explaining to our guests the basics of community organizing.

Showing how to prepare for a phone call to city or county officials.

"Hello, this is the Chief of Police..."

Kristen introducing the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

Tour of Von Nieda Park. We're asking the owner or realtor of the warehouse to remove the graffiti.

We're asking the city to clean the trash out of the woods in Von Nieda Park. (The mattresses were removed on Feb. 1, 2013.)

We're asking New Jersey American Water to keep the area around their fence clean.

Thanks to our friends from St. Joseph's University for all their help!

Thanks to all who donated food for our lunch and snacks.

Student Leaders, and future leaders, preparing the questions for the afternoon research meeting.

Mr. Shahid Rana of Cooper's Ferry, Camden School Board Member Mr. Sean Brown, Camden County Freeholder Mr. Louis Cappelli, Jr., and Camden School Board Member Mr. Ray Lamboy all participated in the afternoon research meetings with our students.

Students conducting a research meeting with Mr. Sean Brown.

Students conducting a research meeting with Freeholder Louis Cappelli, Jr.


Students conducting a research meeting with Mr. Ray Lamboy.

Students conducting a research meeting with Mr. Shahid Rana.

Students conducting a research meeting with Freeholder Louis Cappelli, Jr.  Mr. Cappelli committed to better lighting and more policing in Von Nieda Park.

Wrapping things up at the end of a great day.

Closing prayer, remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A great CCOP (Camden Churches Organized for People) meeting.

Lauryn and Kristen congratulating our Student Leaders (center) on their fine presentations at the CCOP meeting. 

Student Leaders' Von Nieda Pizza Task Force

Thanks to the City of Camden for removing the graffiti from the sign in front of our school.

Br. Juan found the missing Pedestrian Crossing sign, that had been damaged, several blocks down the street, Now it is repaired and back up on River Road in front of the school!


Our Student Leaders brought this graffiti, right by our school, to the attention of the city, and they will take care of it soon.

Drivers on River Road will have no trouble seeing this pedestrian crossing sign on River Road.  Thanks, Manny.

Student Leaders celebrating their accomplishments.
Click on the photofor a Philadelphia Inquirer article about our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

Student leaders planning the Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing.

Our second notice board has now been vandalized.

They're doing an archaeological survey before they start the infrastructure work on Von Nieda Park in the spring.


Someone once again vandalized our Von Nieda Park notice board, destroying our student leaders' display.

Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force after their monthly meeting.

Yea! Our Student Leaders' requests resulted in the county painting the final group of benches in Von Nieda Park.

The mums our Student Leaders planted on Saturday survived Hurricane Sandy!

Making a difference on Make a Difference Day in Camden.

Mum's the word on Make a Difference Day.

Digging it on Make a Difference Day.

Scaaaary front yard on Make a Difference Day.

We made a difference on Make a Difference Day.

Riccardo's making a difference on Make a Difference Day.

Hoagies! on Make a Difference Day.

They made a difference on Make a Difference Day.

Thanks to the Student Leaders for their help in getting PSE&G to repair this utility pole in Von Nieda Park.

Student Leaders don't mind getting a little wet.

Student Leaders composing an e-mail.

|Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force going through the checklist.

Mr. Shahid Rana of Coopers Ferry explaining to our Student Leaders how the infrastructure in Von Nieda Park will be repaired or replaced.

Student Leaders giving Kathleen Udasco of New Jersey American Water some background on their work in Von Nieda Park.

Maurie Smith of Coopers Ferry chats with our Student Leaders after their monthly meeting.

Fr. Jud speaking with the Student Leaders in Von Nieda Park.

Our studnet leaders being interviewed by the Courier Post in Von Nieda Park.

"Who took all the notices out of the Notice Board?" (Turns out it was the county, who repaired the Plexiglas.)

Student Leaders do some last minute preparation on the way to their presentation.

Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force at the Paul VI High School Senior Day at Holy Family Parish.



Enjoying lunch at Holy Family.

Martin Luther King Day reunion.

A nice turnout for our Von Nieda ParkCleanup Day, co-sponsored by the Students Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force and Bikes-R-Us.  In all, 20 people showed up. Not bad for Labor Day weekend.

Picking up the trash, and the recyclables. Von Nieda Park has never looked better.
 Green is in!

Thanks to Bikes-R-Us for collaborating with us, and painting that ugly bench!

Thanks to our helpers from the Catholic Medical Students Association (and a future med student?).

All it needs is some words on it.

Someon's just going along for the ride!

Help!  We're trapped inside a Von Nieda Park Service Day!

Hope is back, in Von Nieda Park!

Take a look at these cans. The hand speaks. The hand of a Student Leader. 

Thanks, Milagros, for feeding us.Congratulations to the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force, for being recognized by Assemblyman Angel Fuentes and the 5th Legislative District for their work in Von Nieda Park.

For Labor Day weekend, it wasn't a bad turnout for our Von Nieda Park community meeting.

Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force preparing for their monthly Von Nieda Park community meeting.

We didn't win the $500 prize, but our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force got a nice t-shirt from GenerationOn. 

Thanks to the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force, and Camden County, we have pedestrian crossing signs on River Road by Von Nieda Park.

Don't you dare not stop for pedestrians!

Some day, one of us will be mayor here!

Our student leaders, ready to present at the Mayor's Youth Council meeting in City Hall.  They got three rounds of applause during a 7-minute presentation.

Student Leaders updating the notice board in Von Nieda Park.

Our student leaders following up on the phone with county officials.
For a story about our student leaders on the White House website, click here.

Problem in Von Nieda Park, August 8: someone dumped trash near Cleveland Avenue.
Problem in Von Nieda Park, August 8: someone broke one of the swings.  (It was reparied shortly afterwards.)

Problem in Von Nieda Park, August 8: someone stole half of the geraniums.

Our student leaders showing a guest how the flowers are flourishing in Von Nieda Park.

The county will be coming to inspect the plexiglas on our notice board, which is popping out of the frame. 


St. Anthony's arrives at the Community Forum on Public Safety in Camden.

The Community Forum on Public Safety in Camden.



Some of our student leaders ready to present at the Community Forum on Public Safety.

After the Community Forum on Public Safety, in downtown Camden. 

 

For a link to a Philadelphia Inquirer story about the smoking ban in Von Nida Park, quoting one of our student leaders, click here
For a link to a story about our student leaders and community organizing, click here

Some of the 38 student leaders, city and county officials, and neighbors in attendance at our monthly Von Nieda Park meeting. 

Bikes-R-Us showing their plan for a Sk8tepark.

Carlos of Bikes-R-Us conferring with Fr. Jud after the meeting.

Fr. Jud and Jennie from Azusa Pacific University debriefing the meeting with one of our student co-chairs.

Our task force posing by the dead tree they want removed in Von Nieda Park. 

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force circling up for prayer before our big trip to Washington.

Is Fr. Jud's driving that scary?

The first of many walks--on our way to the Metro.

Some last minute preparation for our presentation at Health and Human Services' Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. * (For photos of the group in Washington with a * after the caption, thanks go to Heather Wilson/PICO National Network.)
For more pictures of our students leaders on the PICO website click here.

Most of our students had a chance to present part of our Powerpoint show. *

Our students know that he got his start in community organizing. *

*

Our students made a great impression in Washington.

The conference room was full of Health and Human Services officials and guests. 

*


The conference room was full of Health and Human Services officials and guests. *

Fr. Jud was extremely proud of his students. *

*

Explaining the process for choosing which priorities the students will address. *

Question and answer time is when our students truly shine. *

*

*

Alexia Kelley, Director of Health and Human Services' Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, was our host. *

*

Our students attentively listening to Health and Human Services staff presentations.

*

A visit to the Secretary's Operations Center in the Hubert Humphrey Building. *

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force, chaperons, and friends from Health and Human Services. *

*

Lunch at the Longworth Cafeteria.

Thanks to Rep. Robert Andrews' staff for their support.

"Someday, I'll be elected to serve here."

The underground Capitol tunnel.

The Capitol Visitor Center.


Visiting the Rotunda on our Capitol tour.


Ready to start a long walk to the U.S. Institute of Peace.

An oasis on the way to the USIP.

Follow the leader.

Waiting for the rest of the group to catch up.

At the 2-mile mark...

An abandoned house in Washington?

We finally arrived at the U.S. Institute of Peace. 

At the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Our host Andrew at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

At the U.S. Institute of Peace.







Outside the U.S. Institute of Peace. 

One more stop on the Mall--the Lincoln Memorial.



The long walk is almost over.

Hooray for the Metro!


Outside Holy Name College.

Thanks to the friars for a great meal at Holy Name College.
Thanks to the friars for a great meal--and hot chocolate latte--at Holy Name College.

The students truly enjoyed their visit to Holy Name College.


Thanks to our friends at Bikes-R-Us for brightening up the trash barrels in Von Nieda Park to match their building.

Our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force rehearsing their presentation for Washington, D.C. with guests from the Salvation Arms Service Corps present. 

Getting neighbors involved in watering the flowers we planted in Von Nieda Park.   Carlos and his Bikes-R-Us crew will water the flowers every Tuesday. 

Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force working on their presentation for Washington, D.C.  

Our community organizing students deciding which projects for Von Nieda Park deserve top priority. 
Br. George Leila and Rebecca with our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force at Rutgers-Camden for the first meeting of the Camden City Integrated Municipal Advisory Council (IMAC) to work on an outdoor smoke-free ordinance for Camden City. Our students have been asked to help in developing a community network to discourage outdoor tobacco use in public places and to decrease exposure to second-hand and third-hand smoke.


Our Summer SOAR program students in the Community Organizing class inspecting Von Nieda Park.

Our Summer SOAR program students in the Community Organizing class point out graffiti on benches in Von Nieda Park that they plan to paint this summer.

Our Summer SOAR program students in the Community Organizing class point out graffiti on a building next to Von Nieda Park that they hope to paint over with murals this summer.

Thanks to Camden County for the flowers for Von Nieda Park.

Our Von Nieda Park days are not just about picking up trash, they're about planting flowers, too!

Planters from Medford Lakes, Wisconsin, and Camden!

Student leader taking a shovel to it.

New in Von Nieda Park--a flower bed!  Thanks to our friends from Medford Lakes for all the help!

Yes, we recycle!

Water bearers from Medford Lakes, Anaheim, California, and La Union, El Salvador.

A unique sprinkling system.

Despite weekly cleanups by the county, this is what we find in less than an hour.

One of our teams distributing refrigerator magnets with the numbers to call if you see people dumping trash in the park, or other infractions.

Peaches!

A great turnout for our fourth Von Nieda Park Cleanup (and flower planting) Day of the year.

How about a nice Hawaiian Punch?

Thanks for the hoagies!

Friends of Francis, and Friends of Von Nieda Park.

An important task at the end of the day--separating the recyclables from the trash!

Click here for a Catholic Star Herald front page story on our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.
The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force arrives at Camden County College in Blackwood.

Our students waiting for the start of the Freeholders meeting.

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force is honored by the Camden County Board of Freeholders. 


Vianca explains the difference between community service and community organizing.

Freeholder Jeffrey Nash addresses the students.



Congratulations on winning these awards from the Camden County Board of Freeholders.
His first Rita's!

Relaxing at Rita's after the Freeholder's awards. 

For a story on our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force on Claudia Vargas' Camden Flow blog, click here and scroll to June 11.
Check out our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force on the news.    
Our students are interviewed by 6ABC, as they give a tour of Von Nieda Park prior to being awarded the national Jefferson Award for their environmental work.



Camden County Freeholder Jeffrey Nash talking with the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force about their award-winning work in Von Nieda Park.

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force showing where they got the swings replaced, and lowered so younger children can use them.

The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force showing 6ABC one of the benches they painted in Von Nieda Park.

Maryann Younger of the Jefferson Awards with the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force, one of five groups in the nation to win an award for their environmental work.

Congratulations to the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force!

Maryann Younger of the Jefferson Awards presents the $500 award check to Fr. Jud for the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

6th and 7th graders with bench they helped design in our Rain Garden.

Congratulations to four graduating 8th Graders from the Student Von Nieda Park Task Force: Joseph, Lizbeth, Nicole and Vianca.  Good luck in high school!



The Class of 2012 heading into their future. 
A little fun helps the park cleanup go faster.

This ship, which passed by the park, will be in the San Juan Bautista parade.

In the swing of things.

This Plexiglas was broken on April 6, almost two months ago.

Cleaning up Von Nieda Park.

Never too young to clean up the park!


We recycle!

Getting rid of weeds the old-fashioned way...

...and the fossil-fuel burning way.

Our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force gets 23 people out to clean up the park on a beautiful day.

Click here for a Camden County article and pictures about our Student Leaders' work in Von Nieda Park.


Shahid Rana of Coopers Ferry Partnership, Task Manager for implementing the new changes in Von Nieda Park, goes over the plan with one of our student leaders.



The Students Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force going over the new plans for the park.



The baseball field is going over there!

"Our photographer likes goofy pictures."



Someone who attended our presentation at the Romero Lecture at Rutgers-Camden invited the Students Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force to give a similar presentation in Cherry Hill.



St. Anthony's students with the student council leaders of Resurrection Catholic School.



"Yes, that was me many years ago..."



Explaining the difference between community service and community organizing.



Our Powerpoint presentation.



We spoke to the 6th, 7th and 8th grades.



"Would anyone like to come up and share what you've learned today?"



"What I learned from the St. Anthony's students..."



Thanks to Pat Slater of Christ Our Light Parish for coordinating our visit. 

Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force preparing their Powerpoint presentation to be given at Resurrection Catholic School. 

Camden County installed these signs in Von Nieda Park, thanks to a request from our students. 

Getting ready for Mayor Redd's Camden Clean Campaign in Von Nieda Park.

St. Anthony's students cleaning Von Nieda Park as part of Mayor Redd's Camden Clean Campaign.

For a day, we'll call her Mayor Pinkk.

Mr. Miller and his students raking it in.

St. Anthony's students brown bagging it in Von Nieda Park as part of Mayor Redd's Camden Clean Campaign.

Mr. Miller handing out recycling bracelets.

"Mayor Redd, you missed a spot!"

St. Anthony's art teacher Ms. Baum and four of her students transformed Von Nieda Park in just one day.

Lending a hand, having a ball.

Snake in Von Nieda Park! 

Dream in Von Nieda Park.

St. Anthony's students admiring the notice board their classmates requested--and got--for Von Nieda Park.


St. Anthony's recycles, even in the park.

The benches the way they were--graffiti targets.

My students!

A mayor, a principal, and a future leader.

Is it a bench, or a blank canvas? 
Let's paint!

Believe in Von Nieda Park.

Love in Von Nieda Park.

Love--Believe--Peace in Von Nieda Park.
Peace Art in Von Nieda Park.

Toward the end of a long, hot day in Von Nieda Park.

Hope in Von Nieda Park.

Guess what--we need more paint!

Our art teacher Ms. Baum has Faith in Von Nieda Park.
Peace in Von Nieda Park. 

Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force at the New Jersey Youth Service Awards in Trenton.











Our student leaders explaining the work that won them a New Jersey Youth Service Award, part of the New Jersey Governor's Jerfferson Awards.

Receiving our awards at the New Jersey Youth Service Awards in Trenton.


Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force and other award winners at the New Jersey Youth Service Awards in Trenton.

Congratulations!


The awards were presented at the New Jersey State Museum.  Scaaaaary!


Enjoying their just desserts.


Award winners in the New Jersey State Museum Art Gallery.

We like the food, but the real reason we're so happy is we're so proud of our brother!

Cool cherry cream, pineapple tart...
  A blessing for our Student Leacers' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

9:30 a.m.: "Oh no, graffiti on the Cramer Hill Community Center!"
 Our Students Leaders inspecting where the plexiglas was smashed on our community notice board in Von Nieda Park.

Hard at work on the Von Nieda Park Cleanup Day, sponsored by St. Anthony's and the Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation.

"Garbage or recycling? Garbage!"

After a morning of picking up litter, we couldn't even get to this part of Von Nieda Park.

After a morning of picking up litter, we couldn't even get to this part of Von Nieda Park.

14 of 15 cigarette packs we found were Newports. The Lorillard Corporation just might be hearing from our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force.

A morning's work--four big bags of trash, and two of recycling.

Almost as much fun as picking up litter.

St. Anthony Student Leaders--and future ones.

"Can't people read?"

11 a.m.: Thanks, Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation, for your fast work.

"Here we come, walking down the street..."


  We're recycling!

"Please keep Camden clean!" We agree!

Student Leaders need to keep properly pizzated.

Guess what, another pack of Newports!

In our neighborhood, it should say, "Newport litter!"


"We're with Frowny!"

"I'd bend over backwards to chair the next meeting!"
Our student community organizers with Camden City Council President and director of the Camden County Parks Department Mr. Frank Moran.
Congratulations to our student community organizers, and our artist (far right) for getting Camden County to make this refrigerator magnets with numbers to call to report people mistreating Von Nieda Park.

Our Student Leaders Von Nieda Park Task Force enjoying the swings that they got the county to fix.

Great art work!  It was chosen as the design for the Von Nieda Park refrigerator magnets that Camden County and St. Anthony's will distribute.
Our Von Nieda Student Leaders Task Force meet Mr. Russ Testa and Mr. Jack Jezreel.

Manny Delgado of the Cramer Hill CDC (Community Development Corporation) meeting with our students about Von Nieda Park.
 
Thanks to the Student Leaders Von Nieda Park Task Force, the benches are getting painted by the county parks department.
Fr. Jud with two of our students who meet monthly with city and county parks officials. 
For a story on our student leaders working on Von Nieda Park, click here.

Thanks to the Student Leaders Von Nieda Park Task Force, city workers painted over the graffiti on the Cramer Hill Community Center today.

Continuing on the topic of community organizing, at Christian Unity Week.

Another St. Anthony's student presenting at Christian Unity Week.

A wonderful presentation by a St. Anthony's student.

Christian Flower Week.

Bishop Farmer with our St. Anthony of Padua Students at Christian Unity Week.

"We have a dream--that the Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing will be a huge success!"

Several St. Anthony's students were in attendance at our 3rd Annual Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing, geared toward 7th-12th graders.

Student leader at the mic on our tour of the neighborhood.
For a story in the Catholic Star Herald click here

Grace before lunch.

At right, Orlando Munoz and Iraida Afanador of the City of Camden answering questions.

Current leaders, and a future one.

"How does it feel to be a leader?"

Kristen with our three student leaders for the Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing. 

We're planning for this year's Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing.

Josh teaching about civic engagement.

Josh teaching about civic engagement.

 

2013 News and Events

Sat., Nov. 16, 2013 -- The Student Leaders continued painting the mural in Von Nieda Park.  PNC, which gave them a Neighborhood Wishlist grant to paint the mural, sent a film crew from New York City to interview our Student Leaders.

Tues., Nov. 9, 2013 - Selected Student Leaders will be speaking at the Camden City Council public meeting at City Hall

Sat., Nov. 2, 2013 - Another great Cleanup and Paintup Day, with the start of the mural on the warehouse on Reeves Avenue.  Thanks to Frankie Fontanez for donating funds for lunch, and to the PNC Neighborhood Wishlist project for the funds for the paint.

Tues., October 22, 2013 - the Student Leaders were the only members of the public to attend and comment at the public hearing at the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority about the $5.4 proposed plan to reduce the flooding in Von Nieda Park and other areas. 

Sept. 28, 2013 - Another successful Cleanup and Paintup Day in Von Nieda Park, with 29 people helping.  Thanks to Miguel's Pharmacy for helping pay for our lunch, and to Ms. Mirta Nieves for hosting it..

September 24, 2013 -- The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force gave a presentation, "Come and See What Your Children Have Done," for their parents, CCOP's Local Organizing Committee, and others interested in their work.

September 14, 2013 -- The Student Leaders spoke in Von Nieda Park to a group of neighbors, friends and fellow community organizers on the Cramer Hill Victory Tour. 

September 13, 2013 - By getting 500 votes on Facebook, we were awarded a $500 prize from PNC's Neighborhood Wishlist for our project Paint = Hope, which will help us beautify Von Nieda Park under the guidance of local artists.

August 24, 2013 - Another successful Cleanup and Paintup Day in Von Nieda Park, with help from the Camden Clean Campaign, and for the first time a neighbor (Ms. Mirta Nieves) hosted the Student Leaders and friends for a cookout afterwards.

August, 2013 - $15,000 of new fencing was put in Von Nieda Park around the playground, protecting it from ATVs and dirt bikes.  Our Student Leaders requested this on April 7.

July 27, 2013 - Our most impressive Cleanup and Paintup Day yet in Von Nieda Park, co-sponsored by Crowley Maritime.  Over 30 volunteers came, and Crowley cooked out for us.

July 23, 2013 - The Student Leaders were given a tour of the Eye in the Sky operation at Camden County Police Headquarters, and met in Von Nieda Park with City Council President Frank Moran and the engineers and landscape architect who will be putting improved lighting and new fencing in the park.

July 16, 2013 - The Student Leaders gave a successful presentation of their work at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops building in Washington, D.C.  They were hosted by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.  About 20 people from the D.C. area interested in community organizing attended.

July 2, 2013 - The Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force was awarded a $250 "2013 City of Camden's Clean Communities Mini Grant." We will have a cleanup day in the park using the Mini Grant money on Saturday, August 24.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - One of our Student Leaders, Itzel, co-chaired a CCOP (Camden Churches Organized for People) Local Organizing Committee meeting at St. Anthony's, the first time a student had done so.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - Our Student Leaders found out they were awarded a $1,500 grant from the Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center Community Benefit Steering Committee.  The grant will pay for equipment for painting murals and benches in Von Nieda Park, tools and equipment for park cleanup days, and food and transportation expenses for the Student Leaders' trip to Washington, D.C.

Saturday, June 22, 2013 - The Student Leaders led a cleanup day in Von Nieda Park.  NJ American Water provided bottled water, and Riccardo's brought the pizza.  The Cramer Hill CDC brought us tools.

Saturday, June 8, 2013 - The Student Leaders were awarded a New Jersey Jefferson Award for Youth Service for the successful planning and running of the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Community Organizing.

Thursday, May 30, 2013 -- The Nuns on the Bus stopped in Von Nieda Park to meet our Student Leaders and learn about their work; the Student Leaders received a 2013 Mayor's Youth Council Award, and a commencation from the Camden County Board of Freeholders.

Thursday, May 23, 2013 -- The Student Leaders were the first student group to be invited to tour the Crowley Maritime facility on Petty's Island.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 -- The Student Leaders participated in Camden Clean Day in Von Nieda Park with Mayor Dana Redd.

Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- The Student Leaders won a NJ Youth Jefferson Award for the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Community Organizing.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 -- The Student Leaders were selected for a Mayor's Youth Council award for youth service.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - Our Student Leaders' article appears in NETWORK Connection magazine, and one of the students is featured on the front cover.

Thursday, May 2, 2013 -- Our Student Leaders greeted the guests, and gave a Powerpoint presentation, at the 18th annual CCOP Spring Fundraiser, at Camden County Boathouse in Cooper River Park.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 -- Our Student Leaders were invited by Mayor Redd, and attended the swearing-in of Camden Metro Police Chief John Thomson

Saturday, April 27, 2013 -- Student Leaders and Ms. Klingler participated in a successful Comcast Cares Day in Von Nieda Park

Monday, April 22, 2013 -- On Earth Day, our Student Leaders were recognized at City Hall as Camden SMART Environmental Heroes.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - At the Cramer Hill CCOP Action on Abandoned Housing, Councilman Luis Lopez announced that Camden County will be spending $60,000 to improve the lighting in Von Nieda Park, thanks to the requests of our Student Leaders.

Friday, April 12, 2013 - The County Parks Department told us they will put recycling bins in Von Nieda Park, and will also plant flowers in the park this spring.

Saturday, March 23, 2013 - Our students leaders visited South Camden to speak with some young(er) listeners interested in their work in Von Nieda Park.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013  - Our two captaqins gave a report on the park at the Cramer Hill LOC (Local Organizing Committe) meeting.

Friday, Feb. 9, 2013 - Five of our Student Leaders gave a presentation at Sacred Heart Peace Community's Gathering for Peace and Justice, and conversed with Sr. Simone Campbell of NETWORK and "Nuns on the Bus" fame.

Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 - Four of our Student Leaders attended the Student Service Showcase, sponsored by Students in Action, at Rowan University.  They gave a 5-minute presentation on the Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force, and then teamed with students from Washington Township to win a competition to design a proposal to better our world, coming ahead of nine high school teams.

Monday, January 21, 2013 - Our students led the Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing for approximately 65 students and other guests.  It's the only event in the country that remembers Martin Luther King through community organizing rather than community service.

Saturday, January 19, 2013.  Two of our Student Leaders presented at the CCOP meeting in Camden on their work in Von Nieda Park.

 2012 News and Events

Friday, December 14, 2012.  The pedestrian crossing signs the Student Leaders have been asking for were put on River Road.

Thursday, November 15, 2012.  The Task Force spoke at the Camden County Freeholders' Town Hall meeting at City Hall about the lighting and policing in Von Nieda Park.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012.  The Task Force gave a presentation to the Paul VI High School senior class on their day of reflection. 

Friday, August 31, 2012.  The Task Force received a citation from Assemblyman Angel Fuentes and the 5th Legislative District of New Jersy for their accomplishments in Von Nieda Park.

Thursday, August 23, 2012.  The Task Force gave a well received presentation at the Mayor's Youth Council meeting in City Hall. Not bad, to get three rounds of applause during a 7-minute presentation.

Friday, July 13, 2012.  The Task Force visited Washington, D.C. to give their powerpoint presentation, "Community Organizing: You're Never Too Young," at the Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  They also got a tour of the U.S. Capitol, and got to meet with staff at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

June 21, 2012 - Our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force was recognized by the Camden County Board of Freeholders for their achievements in Von Nieda Park.


Freeholder Jeffrey Nash addresses the students.

June 11, 2012  Our Student Leaders' Von Nieda Park Task Force was one of just five groups nationwide to receive a Youth Service Challenge award for environmental work, through the Jefferson Awards for Public Service. In just five months, our students have been recognized at the city, county, state and national levels for their efforts.  Good work, students! 

 

 

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