Lowe’s cleans up at Pruden

Published 9:17 pm Saturday, August 3, 2013

Volunteers from Lowe's stand in front of a flowerbed they landscaped at the Pruden Center on Thursday. Participants in the project included: back row, from left, Diana Betsinger, Orleasia Hartley, Bryan Woodington, Amber Brock, James Pope, Lonzo Jones and Sean Perry; middle row, from left, Linda Noack, Kim Bruce, Lynn O'Brien, Barbara Prewitt and Kris Brooks; and front row, from left, Sherry Woodley, Alonna Copeland and Ashlie Ducker.

Volunteers from Lowe’s stand in front of a flowerbed they landscaped at the Pruden Center on Thursday. Participants in the project included: back row, from left, Diana Betsinger, Orleasia Hartley, Bryan Woodington, Amber Brock, James Pope, Lonzo Jones and Sean Perry; middle row, from left, Linda Noack, Kim Bruce, Lynn O’Brien, Barbara Prewitt and Kris Brooks; and front row, from left, Sherry Woodley, Alonna Copeland and Ashlie Ducker.

By William Scott

Correspondent

Despite threat of rain, about 15 volunteers from Lowe’s Home Improvement on North Main Street volunteered their services at the Pruden Center on Thursday.

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The volunteers worked most of the day, providing services including landscaping, cleaning, building new benches and painting the restrooms. More than $1,200 worth of supplies and $10,000 worth of work was donated to the center.

“It’s one of my community partners that I reach out to,” Diana Betsinger, human resource manager at Lowe’s, said when asked why The Pruden Center was chosen to receive volunteer work. “We’re recruiting graduates here. It provides a lot of service to the community.”

A single volunteer, James Pope, constructed the benches. Pope spent about 30 hours at home building the benches, according to Betsinger.

In addition to the volunteer work, the Lowe’s employees donated wood building supplies for the senior wood shop class, which is aspiring to build a conference table, according to Betsinger.

Betsinger approached the Pruden Center in June to propose the volunteer work. Mona Parker, student support counselor at The Pruden Center, met Betsinger at the school to tour the facility and collaborate on the work the volunteers could do.

“This is Lowe’s supporting organizations and beautification of buildings,” said Corey McCray, director of the Pruden Center.

“Things need to be upgraded, and with increasingly tight (money), we have to make sure we’re focusing our funds to classrooms and instruction. When you have a nice looking building, people tend to take it more seriously. It certainly does speak to the sense of pride that the community has in making certain that this building and other Suffolk buildings continue to model what cities in southeastern Virginia should look like. We feel very fortunate to be a part of this event this year with Lowe’s.”

The project was part of an annual national program by Lowe’s to volunteer community services to nonprofit organizations. The company participates in more than 1,300 projects and has contributed more than $1.3 million in materials, according to the website.

The Pruden Center is a vocational school that was established in 1975 that provides technical and career education to high school students.

Students attending Lakeland, Nansemond River, King’s Fork, Smithfield or Windsor high schools are able to register for programs held at The Pruden Center for elective credits. The school offers 15 instructional programs that are taught on a three-hour block schedule, according to the website.