By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
When Karean Reynolds appeared recently before the Atmore City Council, the panel might have wondered which hat Reynolds was wearing, since the local attorney serves as judge of Atmore Municipal Court, District 5 representative on the Escambia County Commission and chair of the county’s Children’s Policy Council.
But Reynolds had a different agenda when he was asked to be placed on the council’s agenda.
“I’m here as a community activist-type deal today,” he said. “I’m here to talk about a new mentoring program, called IMPACT. That stands for Influence, Motivate, Purpose, Action, Commitment and Trust.”
He said the group, which includes about 25 boys and girls of middle school and high school age, have begun a continuing project that will help beautify one segment of the city.
That project entails removing garbage, trash and debris from an area that includes Park Drive, which provides entrance and exit to Houston Avery Park, as well as a stretch of Martin Luther King Avenue from the park to Carver Avenue.
Then came his only tangible request.
“We’ll be responsible for cleaning that piece of property up at least once a month, kind of like Adopt-A-Mile,” Reynolds said. “All we’re asking for is, basically, that the 600-meter stretch of road be identified as an IMPACT Zone and that you put up a sign that says IMPACT made it happen.”
He said the city would benefit in several ways from council approval to conduct the cleanups and the presence of such a sign.
“The youth will be performing a community service, giving back to the community, as well as building self-esteem,” he said. “If it looks clean, people might be more reluctant to throw paper and trash on the road. It will also increase awareness that we have young people who are trying to make a difference.”
The program is funded through a grant from the Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama Department of Community and Economic Affairs. The program also includes out-of-town trips that help broaden participants’ personal horizons.
“WE take them outside the community and expose them to things all around the state, country and world,” Reynolds said. “We take trips at least once a month to various landmarks for enrichment purposes.”
Reynolds and Pastor Catrado North are the group’s primary mentors, but several volunteers — including Alabama Army National Guard SFC James Allen — also share positive messages with IMPACT members.
The municipal court judge said more volunteers would be welcomed but reminded council members he wasn’t there seeking funds.
“We’re not asking much, we just need a sign where we can go clean up that part of the city,” he said. “That’s a small investment that will have a bid impact on the community. We could use any volunteers that want to help. We don’t need funding; we just need more bodies.”
Anyone wishing to volunteer may contact Reynolds by phone at 251-867-0263 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.