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Top 10 Stories of 2010: No. 2 – Formation of S.W.A.T.
The following story was chosen as one of the top 10 stories that happened in Southlake this year. The story has been edited for space.
This past year saw the formation of a community-wide group whose sole goal is to beautify Southlake and create a sense of community throughout the city. Southlake Working Together As A Team (S.W.A.T.) held three work days in the second half of the year, with more planned for 2011.
Cleaning out a garden at Rockenbaugh Elementary and planting flowers at the Department of Public Safety West building were just two of the projects completed by S.W.A.T. during the group’s third work day.
The organization, which was started by members of Southlake Baptist Church and has since spread throughout the city, worked at six locations Oct. 30. Those locations included Johnson, Rockenbaugh and Durham elementaries, Bicentennial Park, DPS West and Carroll Senior High. The work done at the locations included trimming trees, grinding stumps, weeding flower beds and small painting projects.
“S.W.A.T. volunteers were spread out over several locations for this third event,” said Zack Polyak, care pastor at Southlake Baptist Church. “Teachers, parents and students came out to volunteer at their local schools. Volunteers got to work alongside firemen at the DPS West facility and folks performed simple tasks like pulling weeds, putting down new mulch in flowerbeds and painting fences. It means a lot to these organizations, and S.W.A.T. is willing and able to help.”
The organization began in June when church members decided to help clean up the flower beds and trees at Carroll High School — where the church has met since its founding a year ago. That project drew about 60 people. The second project — at the Bob Jones Nature Center — doubled in size and included members of the city council and school board. The work done at the center included weeding flower beds, trimming trees, grinding stumps and adding mulch to trails and flower beds.
The most recent project saw volunteers total more than 500 hours of community service at the six locations. With both Carroll ISD and the city having to tighten their budgets, Polyak said this is one way the group can help the schools and city save money.
“We started the S.W.A.T. initiative to organize our church, other churches and organizations in the Southlake area for the sole purpose of giving back and helping the community,” Polyak said. “We have no other agenda in mind and desire other community-oriented organizations to partner with us to be a blessing to the city through future S.W.A.T. events.
“In the coming years, we hope to see thousands of Southlake residents at S.W.A.T. workdays, beautifying our city together to make our community a better place. Ultimately we hope to develop a better sense of responsible community because people are working together; not just living on the same streets and seeing each other at church, or in restaurants around town.”
Visit www.southlake swat.org for information.
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