Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU, Special Olympics lend a hand at Indy park

April 11, 2012

With its iconic fountain, acres of green space and plenty of trees, the beauty of the school's campus is what sold Joycelynn McCall on attending Indiana State University.

"It was really pretty," she said.

The sophomore nursing major from Chicago helped beautify another public locale during the university's recent Indianapolis Day of Service. McCall was one of 78 volunteers from ISU and Special Olympics Indiana who helped spruce up Garfield Park in Indianapolis, a Special Olympics training site.

"I always like to volunteer. You get a feeling of satisfaction when you leave," said McCall.

The annual event honors the memory of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder and longtime leader of Special Olympics, said Dan Bradley, ISU president.

"Indiana State has really made a commitment to community engagement and today is part of that," Bradley said. "It's great to be out here."

Students, faculty, and alumni from Indiana State worked alongside Special Olympics athletes and their families to create a pristine park. Volunteers mulched around trees, edged grassy areas, cleaned and painted park structures.

"During, it can be tough," said McCall. "But it was worth it in the end." Jerry Moore, a Special Olympics athlete from Cicero, said he is used to a physical challenge.

"I work hard at my sports," said Moore, who has competed in golf, track and field, cycling and basketball. "I try to achieve more and become a better athlete, a better person," he said.

Moore was one of many athletes who partnered with the Indiana State volunteers.

"This sounded like a great way to give back and a great opportunity to work with Special Olympics," said ISU alumna Pamela Rusch, a resident of Indianapolis. She said she volunteered through her sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha, as a student at ISU, and continues to appreciate the value of community service projects as an alumna. "I think it's great to see everybody from ISU here," she said.

By the end of the day, Garfield Park showed a noticeable improvement.

"It's looking phenomenal," said Allen McClendon, senior manager of community partnerships for Indy Parks and Recreation. He said he can still see the impact of volunteers' efforts at Riverside Park from the Indy Day of Service two years ago and emphasized the lasting impact of the service projects.

"This means so much," said McClendon. "It's not only an improvement aesthetically today but an improvement for years to come."

Photo: -Volunteers from Indiana State University and Special Olympics Indiana work to spruce up Garfield Park during the university's Indy Day of Service March 31, 2012 (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Joycelynn McCall, a sophomore nursing major from Chicago, sands a metal railing at the Burello Family Center in Indianapolis' Garfield Park to prepare it for painting. McCall was among dozens of ISU and Special Olympics Indiana volunteers taking part in the university's Indy Day of Service March 31, 2012 (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Pamela Rusch of Indianapolis, a 1991 graduate of Indiana State University, paints a railing outside the Burello Family Center in Indianapolis' Garfield Park as part of the university's 2012 Indy Day of Service March 31, 2012. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Jerry Moore, a Special Olympics Indiana athlete from Cicero, dumps mulch from a wheelbarrow as Indiana State University President Dan Bradley waits to spread it during the university's annual Indy Day of Service at Garfield Park in Indianapolis March 31, 2012. (ISU/Rachel Keyes

Contact: Cat Paterson, Faculty Fellow, Center for Community Engagement, Indiana State University,

Writer: Bethany Donat, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Office of Communications and Marketing,