>>Project Bloom October2011
Student builds community pocket park Cristin Morgan
This past summer sitting in a conference “I think she made a visual for the end reward. room on her training trip, it clicks on what she With her determination, she will do anything to wants to accomplish to make a difference. get it done.” Senior Brooke Millican, applies for the Ford Millican named this pocket park Project Leadership Scholar program and out of 450 Bloom to symbolize growth. other applicants she earns her way into the ten “I’m a person who’s not very patient and last finalists. year I was in a fl oral class where I watered the “I had to go through lots of interviews,” Mil- greenhouse every day,” Millican said. “And I had lican said. “Then I got accepted and went on a to be patient and I actually ended up loving it, two-and-a-half week trip where I traveled all especially the horticulture part. I wanted to put over the state; we saw what other people were the special needs with the horticulture part.” doing to make a difference.” Agricultural science teacher Jim Allsup gives With no requirements or guidelines, Millican all recognition to Brooke and hopes others see needs to take what she learns on the trip and the same. complete a community service project. “ Th is is awesome,” he said. “I wish every high “I have a huge place in my heart for special school student had to do a project like this in the needs children and knew right away that my community.” project would somehow inAllsup helps Millican by disvolve them,” Millican said. cussing ideas and methods. I have a huge “So I decided to build a com“She’s always been an indiplace in my munity pocket park for the vidual wanting to help others,” heart for special special needs kids to make a Allsup said. “If she wants to do needs children difference.” something and has the desire to and knew right Millican’s best friend Robachieve it, she makes it happen.” ert Smith died of spina bifida This project includes three away my project ten years ago. phases: project fertilizer, project would somehow “ Th e whole park is in memcultivate and project blossom. involve them. ory of him,” she said. “We are The fi rst phase introduced going to have a big plaque that the fundraising in October. A >>senior Brooke says, ‘In memory of Robert concert, silent and live auction, Millican Smith and other loved ones and other activities for kids that made a difference’.” raise money for the park. Located at 106 S. Trinity “ Th e second phase consists of Street, by the Decatur Visitor Center others can construction, done in November,” Millican said, donate $250 or more and place a plaque on a “and the third phase, project blossom, the spebench or brick. cial needs come and paint everything.” “My vision for this project is not for special Hoping to fi nish the whole park by mid-Deneeds kids’, it is to help special needs kids help cember, Millican adds one special touch. other people,” she said. “We’re making a big metal tree,” she said. “You Her purpose already shows development. can walk under it like a normal tree and it symThis park reflects on her friend, junior Aubrey bolizes growth. At my fundraiser we made paper Thompson, who helps her with the project. chains with our dreams and goals on one side “My outlook on special needs children and our name on the other, so we are going to changed,” Th ompson said. “I give them more bury it under the metal tree to watch our dreams credit now than I did before. All the things they grow.” actually do that people don’t see and just over Millican describes the process as stressful but look.” knows the end product pays off. Millican’s Aunt, Frieda Hanley, knows how “ Th e best part is when the whole park finishes much determination her niece holds. and she has the grand opening,” Thompson said. “I think when she started she did not real- “It will be like a 1000 piece jig-saw puzzle finally ize how complicated it would be,” Hanley said. coming together.”>>story continued on page 20
1)Millican dedicates the park to her friend Robert Smith. 2) Millican speaks at her fundraiser event. 3) Nationwide speaker, Lyndon LaPlante, 24, has Down syndrome and spoke at Project Fertilizer. 4) Community came out and participated in activities to help finance the park. For more pictures of the fi rst phase, go to www.decaturjournal.com to view slideshow. Also, visit the website and click on the Brooke’s Donation link if interested in donating money to help fund the pocket park.
>>photos courtesy of Brooke Millican