2020 Rogers Scholar and Barbourville City High School student Emily Brooks and Knox County Judge-Executive Mike Mitchell stand in front of the newly renovated Bennett Park. Emily organized phase one of a beautification project to revitalize the park for her Rogers Scholars community service project.

“This project was very personal to me. I grew up playing and riding my bike in this park, which was very close to my home. For the last several years, I have seen it deteriorate to an unsafe and unattractive level. It saddened me to drive by and see the shape it had become. I feel proud to say kids will have a safe, new area to play and families will have a clean area to picnic.”

The beautification project was truly a community event – from the first-grade students at Jesse D. Lay Elementary School who helped plant seeds in flower pots to the volunteers who painted, mowed, and removed old equipment left behind in the park.

Each graduate of The Center for Rural Development’s Rogers Scholars program is required to complete a community service project. For more information about Rogers Scholars, visit www.centeryouthprograms.com.