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Arizona State wrestling lends a hand at Wilson neighborhood

September 22, 2008
The Arizona State University wrestling program recently assisted the efforts of the Wilson Neighborhood Clean Up, held Saturday, September 20, at the neighborhood surrounding Wilson Elementary School in Phoenix. For the second year in a row, the Sun Devils were on hand to help invigorate students, parents and the community residents to take pride and ownership of their neighborhood by working to clear debris from the streets.

Organized by the Wilson Community Center, the day started at 8 a.m. with the Sun Devils meeting with the members of the community and students of Wilson Elementary School before breaking off into groups with the volunteering children to begin the clean up. After a two-hour clean up, all involved came together at the school for lunch.

The Wilson community is distinguished by a highly mobile, single parent impoverished population and is surrounded by substance abuse, prostitution and substandard housing. As an inner-city school district, Wilson Elementary School District serves approximately 1,500 children, many of which reside below the poverty level. Twenty-five percent of the children that attend Wilson School are classified as homeless while 75% live in dilapidated housing or local hotels. Ninety-eight percent of the total population qualifies for the free/reduced-cost Federal lunch program. According to the Arizona State Education Department data, Wilson School District is considered to be the most "at-risk" in Maricopa County.