GARY | A recent call from Othiniel Mahone to the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services yielded quick results.
Mahone, a Gary native and special education teacher at Chicago’s all-male Urban Prep Academy, wanted his students to complete their latest community service project in his hometown, and Gary officials didn’t hesitate to oblige.
Mahone and a dozen of his students embarked on a clean-up project adjacent to the railroad tracks at 11th Avenue and Virginia Street on a day earlier this month. General Services Director Kevin Guydon identified the location for the project, while Commander Kerry Rice and several auxiliary officers made sure the area was secure from traffic.
Constituent Services Director Anika Johnson shared her excitement over the unexpected call. “We always welcome groups and individuals who want to initiate clean-up projects because every effort, great or small, helps beautify the city,” said Johnson.
Mahone graduated from Wirt High School in 1998 and has been teaching at Urban Prep for the past eight years.
“I wanted to show my students the importance of giving back and make a difference in my hometown at the same time,” Mahone said.
Urban Prep Academy has made national headlines for maintaining a 100 percent college acceptance rate among its graduates. Several of the youth volunteers, all seniors, more sweatshirts that read “College Bound.”
Mahone said he plans to bring more students to participate in other clean-up efforts in Gary.