The Asbury Park High School football team took Pride in the Park on a recent Saturday.
It was the Blue Bishops’ bye week, but the team was far from idle.
The club took part in a citywide initiative called Pride In The Park.
About 15 Blue Bishops, first-year coach Tim Fosque said, participated in the community cleanup event. He said the team worked at sprucing up Ridge Prospect, Washington and Bangs avenues on the west side.
“Our players used garbage bags, gloves, rakes and shovels and sticks with hooks on them,” Fosque said. “Our players were out there from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Our players wore their jerseys.”
It was one of several community events in which the Blue Bishops have participated since Fosque took over. He is a big believer in his team being involved in such events as he feels participation promotes unity and makes his players productive citizens.
One team member who took part in the event was senior Jaedon Stephens, an aspiring college player.
“I love the events a lot,” he said. “They help me prepare myself for college. These events show people that we have come together as a family. We do things to help out other people.”
The team that works together wins together. The Blue Bishops won four of their first five regular-season games, capturing several victories with clutch plays. They rebounded from an overtime loss to Point Pleasant Beach in the regular-season opener for both clubs.
“The events have helped us form a great bond,” Stephens said. “At the beginning of the season, we were all athletes ready to play football. These events have made us more like brothers.”
The Asbury Park Quality of Life Commission, chaired by councilperson Yvonne Clayton, spearheads the project. A feature was a celebratory launch in the lobby of City Hall.
“Pride In The Park as a concept is the umbrella that covers all events, programs and educational tools for raising awareness to the importance of keeping the city clean by recycling, celebrating the city’s diverse demographic, creating a zero tolerance toward bullying and focusing on the overall beautification of Asbury Park,” Clayton said in a news release. “Artwork submitted by the Asbury Park student body on their thoughts and vision regarding the theme Pride In The Park has been the inspiration in creating this season city ‘improvement’ concept (Fall=recycling awareness, winter=celebrate diversity, spring=zero tolerance toward bullying, summer=Asbury Park beautification).”
Rotating student art exhibitions of the Pride In The Park submissions will take place throughout the fall at the entrance to Municipal Plaza. Asbury Park TV educational awareness spots for the Pride In the Park recycling initiative will be created with Asbury Park students and will run throughout the fall and winter.
Clayton said “other initiatives” are on the table. She said it is an “all hands on deck” initiative.
“They include the creation of a visually stimulating and educational 2016 trifold mailer highlighting acceptable materials for recycling (and other important topics; paint cans, electronics, shredding, etc.) that will be made available to all city residents, enlisting city businesses to take pride in their surroundings and maintain clean sidewalks and storefronts, acquiring new trash/recycling bins for the city, sprucing-up/painting/color-coding the existing recycling and trash bins that will be used in 2016 (especially on the beach!) … and more,” Clayton said. “And this is just a start ..with three more seasons to focus on there’s plenty of work to be done! So please join us as we celebrate Pride In The Park.”
The commission thanked Keyoona Weaver for artwork used to represent Pride In The Park, along with all Asbury Park students who submitted inspiring pieces of art.