Posted Online: April 29, 2012, 10:54 pm

Augie students reach out to teens at The Place2B

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By Laura Anderson Shaw, landerson@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck
Danielle Hollis, a senior at Augustana College, sprays chalkboard paint while Ally Frickman, a sophomore at Augie, works to mask off the wall for the expression board installed at The Place2B in Rock Island on Sunday, April 29.
The can of spray paint shot an even black streak of chalkboard paint onto the wall, gliding back and forth as it filled in the rectangle.

More than 10 Augustana College students with the college's Redwood Movement gathered Sunday to paint a chalkboard, tweak a sketch for a future mural and drop off several musical instruments at The Place2B in downtown Rock Island, which works to counsel, tutor and motivate at-risk area youths.

The Redwood Movement is a group of Augustana students who are trying to highlight the connections all people share while helping create opportunities for Quad-Cities youths to express themselves.

The group donated many instruments from West Music, including drums, egg shakers, a keyboard, guitar, ukulele and more, as well as art supplies such as paints, charcoals and journals. The instruments and supplies were bought with funds raised at screenings of a documentary made by the Redwood Movement on the life stories of a number of Quad-Citians.

"I'm so excited," said Miriam Prichard, associate director of The Place2B, adding that she appreciated the work done by the Redwood Movement.

"It's awesome," said Ashley Higuchi, of Aurora, Colo., an Augie senior with the Redwood group.

Ms. Prichard said she is looking forward to introducing the instruments and art supplies to the teens who go to the center. "I'm a big fan of alternate ways (of) expressing yourself," she said, adding that people can say a lot through art and music that they can't or won't otherwise say. "It's a great way to express themselves and be heard."

The Place2B works to tutor, counsel and instill self-worth in the area's at-risk youths. It provides a hot meal, clothes and hygiene products, as well as housing assistance, life and vocational skills, job and interview training, and more.

Ms. Prichard said she hopes the new art supplies and instruments will draw more area youths to the center.

Members of the Redwood group said they are excited about getting started on the mural after working hard all year.

"It's not just for us anymore," said Stephanie Kendzior, of Inverness, Ill., a junior at Augie who helped with the mural design. She said the number of people who will see their work stretches far beyond the Augie community.

Ms. Prichard said the mural will convey hope, resilience, community and forging relationships, and will include a well-known quotation about creating yourself in life, not finding yourself.

The Place2B helps teens ages 14 through 18 from 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Beginning in June, those the hours will change to 3 to 9 p.m.

For more information, to donate or to volunteer, visit the group's Facebook page, theplace2b.org; call (309) 786-2030; or email director@theplace2b.org.