By P.J. WILLIAMS
It is not every day that the pouring of a new parking lot gives reason to celebrate. But then again the Aldine YOUTH Community Center is not a typical place. For years, YOUTHs parking lot has contained potholes as large as a car length scattered across its surface. Drivers maneuvered across the obstacle course of holes and after a rain, the lots puddles created another challenge.
Weve been praying for a new parking lot for at least eight years or more, explained YOUTH founder and director Sylvia Bolling.
We have patched. We have filled. We have done everything we can to make it so that people could get here to get our services.
YOUTH tries to bring all the services area residents need to one place in order to eliminate the need to spend all day on a bus making connections to different service centers. The center offers a food pantry, probation, WIC, ESL and GED classes, afterschool care, summer camp, defensive driving, exercise classes, and more.
But the parking lot was the last barrier.
Last week work began on the new, concrete lot and already the centers staff is planning a celebration party to thank all those who helped. I tell everybody, Look it is finally happening! Bolling exclaimed.
The answer to Bollings parking lot prayers came through the centers relationship with the Get-Together.
The Get-Together is a group of religious, business men and women who meet once a month for lunch to discuss how they can use their business contacts to help a select group of area non-profit groups. In May 2004, a member of the Get-Together brought Royce Hassell to Aldine YOUTH to meet Bolling. After driving over the parking lot that looked more like a minefield, Hassell offered to donate his labor and the services of his business Royce Hassell & Company Incorporated. When Aldine YOUTH took out a loan to start the Youth Taking Care of Business School, part of the loan package included money for concrete and materials.
The new parking lot will not only be smoother; it will also be bigger. Concrete will now cover the grassy area between the business school and the resale shop. For the meantime, that area will offer additional parking, but Bolling has bigger plans for the concrete pad. This is what you call vision, she said. Bolling is already talking with a contractor who is interested in donating labor to build a pavilion over that space.
Aldine YOUTH is located at 4700 Aldine Mail Route and cab be reached at 281-449-4828.
By P.J. WILLIAMS