"We want to help improve the physical, not just the educational, environment," said Ella M. Bowen, senior assistant managing director. She said that White's office and the departments that report to him would make a special effort to clean up surrounding lots, especially one right near the school that is used to dump tires.
In addition, White said he would see about boarding up abandoned homes, emptying overflowing dumpsters and cleaning up graffiti at the nearly Tasker Homes, where many Audenreid students live.
But, Bowen and White said, they don't plan to limit themselves to that. White said that he planned to visit the school once a week and personally be a
mentor and tutor. Other members of his office - and employees of city departments that report to him - will be encouraged to tutor students, he said. Some of the work may be done on city time, other work may be on their own time.
In addition to providing mentors and tutors, White said his office planned to donate incentive awards for academic achievement and good attendance; aid the school in getting tickets for cultural events, and help provide summer jobs in programs such as the Urban Coalition, the Recreation Department and the Anti-Graffiti Network.
Other people and businesses have also taken an interest in Audenreid. Cigna is making it part of a five-school effort, and developer James Simon donated $10,000 for a summer leadership institute. Simon was given a plaque in appreciation after the White adoption ceremony.
White said that as part of his office's involvement with the school, he would also look into donating equipment, such as computers, for both instructional and administrative purposes.
Audenreid, which until recently was a junior high school, is in the process of converting to a senior high school. It will not graduate its first seniors until 1991.
"We want to concentrate on self-concept and leadership development," Bowen said. "A lot of these kids hear negatives all the time. Even this morning when we got here, one boy asked, 'Why do you want to adopt us?' We want to change that around."