For 31 years, the PRO 100 program and one of its coaches, Cletus Morris M.S. ’96, have been helping economically disadvantaged Indianapolis high school students learn the value of earning a paycheck and teamwork. Sponsored by the Children’s Bureau, Inc. and the Glick Family Foundation, PRO 100 selects up to 100 students each summer and pays them to complete landscaping and beautification projects for local universities.
Butler hosted its first PRO 100 team in June and July. Coached by Morris and Butler secondary education majors Shelbi Burnett and Isaac Adams, 14 students ages 14-17 planted trees and flowers around the University’s new entrance signs at Sunset Avenue and 46th Street; mulched and weeded the Campus Farm; and cleaned up the lawn west of Gallahue Hall, removing equipment and invasive plants left there after research.
“These plants had to be dug out by hand,” said Butler Director of Operations Jerry Carlson. “The PRO 100 team worked hard in the unseasonable heat and never complained. We’re looking forward to identifying projects for next summer, so we can invite PRO 100 back to campus.”
Coach to hundreds of PRO 100 interns since 1981, Morris said his latest team demonstrated cooperation and initiative in tackling projects, finishing all three ahead of schedule.
“They discover that they have the ability to be a wage earner,” he said. “They get a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.”
The team worked outside four mornings a week. They spent afternoons indoors learning about leadership, computer and presentation skills, and college and career exploration from Burnett and Adams.
The pair earned College of Education credits for planning and teaching the lessons. “Shlebi and Isaac had a great opportunity to work with students for six week in a classroom setting,” said Associate Dean Deb Lecklider, who mentored the two in curriculum development and classroom management. “This ‘practice’ teaching has been so beneficial to them.”
Lawrence Central senior Brandon Wright said he enjoyed gaining work experience and skills he can apply in seeking future jobs. “I’m more confident in getting to know people and speaking to others,” he said.
A highlight for Broad Ripple junior Toneisha Moore was completing Butler’s high ropes Challenge Course , which is designed to foster self-confidence, self-trust and personal growth. Crossing rope bridges 38 feet off the ground, “I was shaking,” she said, but she made it across with encouragement from teammates.
On July 20, Butler’s PRO 100 participants joined close to 150 other teens at the “Student Leadership: The Butler Way” workshop on preventing bullying. College of Education graduate students led the workshop, in which students in grades 6 -12 developed action plans for reducing bullying in their schools and communities.
PRO 100 teams also worked at the University of Indianapolis, IUPUI, Ivy Tech Community College and Marian University in 2012. Each Monday, participants toured one of the campuses.
Bringing PRO 100 to Butler was “a true team effort,” Carlson said. “Folks from Operations, University Relations, Academics, the Pulse Office, Admissions and Financial Aid came together to ensure we had a successful program.”
Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson