WUFT News

Transformation Taking Place At Sidney Lanier Center

By on February 20th, 2014
Courtney Miller, 22-year-old psychology senior and Project Makeover executive director, gives directions on mural installments to Karlee Henson, a 19-year-old elementary education student and Heather Haney, a 22-year-old sustainability and the built environment senior  on Feb. 18 at Sidney Lanier Center. The three were preparing preliminary sketches that will be part of renovation installments set to take place from Feb. 21 until Feb. 23.

Ana Krsmanovic / WUFT News

Courtney Miller, a 22-year-old psychology student at the University of Florida and Project Makeover executive director, gives directions on mural installments to Karlee Henson, a 19-year-old elementary education student, and Heather Haney, a 22-year-old sustainability student, on Feb. 18 at the Sidney Lanier Center. The three were preparing preliminary sketches that will be part of renovation installments this weekend.

A center for elementary and secondary students with disabilities will be transformed this weekend by 1,500 volunteers and 10 local sponsors.

The improvements to the Sidney Lanier Center, located at 312 NW 16th Ave., will be made by Project Makeover, a University of Florida based student-run nonprofit organization.

Courtney Miller, a 22-year-old UF psychology senior and Project Makeover executive director, said the project will run Feb. 21 to Feb. 23. from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. The improvements include cleaning, organizing, landscaping and painting murals.

“We are currently the only center in our district that specifically serves students with cognitive disabilities,” said Denise Schultz, the principal of Sidney Lanier. “Cognitive disabilities stem from varying medical conditions that basically make them unable to perform as well as their peers.”

Schultz said students at Sidney Lanier range in age from 3 to 22.

“Traditional and artistic learning is available through more targeted hands-on therapies, while the transitional learning is designed to help older students move into ‘the working world,’” Schultz said.

For the center, Project Makeover created a special “dream project” that will feature a media station for pre-K students that facilitates hands-on learning. The station includes interactive puzzles and models to teach young students the proper way to brush their teeth and wash their hands.

Since its first transformation project with Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Elementary School in 2008, Project Makeover has worked to renovate schools in Gainesville and around north central Florida. Each spring its members have focused on a different school. Williams, Lake Forest, Duval, Chester Shell and Idylwild Elementary Schools have benefited from the organization’s efforts, according to its website.

Bridget Conroy, a 20-year-old UF family youth and sciences junior, said she learned about Project Makeover through Idylwild Elementary, where her mom is a teacher. After seeing the Idylwild students’ reactions to the organization’s contributions, Conroy said she decided to get involved. She is now an art captain for the organization.

“You see the school go from completely plain to filled with a lot of colors,” Conroy said. “Everyone knows we are making a huge difference.”

Project Makeover also plans to plant two new gardens and update the landscaping at Sidney Lanier. One of the gardens will be a “sensory garden,” which would feature plants of various colors, scents and textures that can be easily identified by the students.

Schultz said that she is very grateful for the help the center will receive because the additions will aid in stimulating students of all grade levels. She said she isn’t surprised by the amount of help the community is contributing to the project.

“Having been in Gainesville as long as I have, this hasn’t changed my opinion of the community so much as it has validated it,” she said. “We have an awesome community that is willing to come out on the weekend and help bring better education to our kids.”


This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Education

Investment Into Open-Access Textbooks Could Save Students Millions

Funding for Orange Grove Text Plus, an open-acess textbook initiative, can make textbooks even more affordable than e-textbooks. If enacted, it could cost students almost nothing.


Florida Prepaid Plans At Lowest Price Since 2007

Florida Prepaid College plans have dropped nearly 50 percent in price due to new legislation. Families that enrolled after 2008 are also eligible for refunds or reduced monthly fees.


Kent Fuchs, left, and David McLaughlin are the two finalists for the UF president position.

UF Presidential Search Committee Moves Forward with Two Candidates

Dr. W. Kent Fuchs and Dr. David W. McLaughlin move forward in the search for a new president for the University of Florida. Dr. Sibrandes Poppema was not selected to continue on in the presidential search.


Susan Bowles hugs Jennifer Anhalt after Anhalt roused the crowd at the town hall meeting Tuesday night regarding standardized test practices in in Alachua County. In an interview after the meeting, Bowles said she was so grateful to have heard Anhalt speak with such skill on the matter that is so close to the hearts of many teachers.

Town Hall Meeting Explains State Tests, Community Reacts

Parents and teachers in Alachua County spoke out against elementary school standardized testing they say is too advanced. Students in kindergarten through second grade are expected to take up to nine state-required tests.


Marion County Sheriff's Office Mobile Jail Unit

Mobile Jail Cell Educates Public About Life In Jail

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office launched a program to educate the community about life in jail. A mobile jail cell called the “jail on wheels” shows the typical specifications of a jail cell and is housed in a standard utility trailer.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments