Day For Play: Day in park is fun for the “Mass”

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 19, 2004

YORK-Over 35 high school students with the Gospel Road Youth Group from Boston, Massachusetts played a huge role in making 300 Sumter county students’ “Fun in the Park Day” a very special one.

Friday at Cherokee Park in York, over 300 Kindergarten to Eighth grade students from North Sumter Junior High School, Livingston Junior High, York West End, and Kinterbish High School were wrapping up there summer enrichment programs with a “Fun in the Park Day”, but little did the children know that they were going to be meeting high school students, who wanted to play games and make their day extra special.

Jackie Jackson, who teaches at York West End, said today these children are getting to just act like themselves and have a good time. There are many different activities for the children to participate in including kickball, tennis, badminton, volleyball, soccer, basketball, and many others.

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“We are going to be grilling out and just enjoying the sunshine and once the students from Boston arrive, the fun is really going to start,” Jackson said.

The children were running around and playing on the swings, until a caravan of about 7 vans pulled up. Out of the vans came the students from Boston, MA and their leaders.

One of those leaders was Linda Steeves and she talked about the history of the group and why they were here to participate in today’s events. This is a family ministry with the Holy Spirit Catholic Church of Tuscaloosa.

“The group is called the Gospel Road Youth Group and is comprised of 35 students from Boston, MA as well as five students from Mobile and Tuscaloosa,” Steeves said.

The group was formed by Jim Flanagan about five years ago in Boston, MA and is comprised of only high school students from the surrounding areas, she said. The students are required to do one year of work in Boston in the intercity, helping the children as well as one year outside the state.

“This group wanted to come to Alabama and help some under privileged children and other needy people,” Steeves said.

The students were in Eutaw on Monday doing work with St. Mary’s Catholic church and then spent Tuesday-Thursday in Tuscaloosa working in a homeless shelter and other things.

Two students from Boston, MA, Ashley Smith&Jenna McCoy said they enjoyed seeing the children smile when they were playing games with them. They also said they weren’t use to everyone saying hello to them because the people in Boston don’t do that.