Student learning continues during summer

June 29, 2008 12:49:27 PM PDT
Even though school is out, many Wake County children are spending their days in Communities in Schools Learning Center, taking part in their summer programs. Communities in Schools is built on the idea that if companies and their employees get involved in education, it can make a real difference in the lives of many children.

In the shadow of Downtown Raleigh sits the Skanska Learning Center at Heritage Park. Every day after school, dozens of students go to the center to get some extra help.

Koray Ozgenc, senior project manager for Skanska, is one of those people giving the help the children need. "We build, we build buildings and we build communities and part of our company culture we like and we want to be involved as part of the communities."

Ozgenc is one of many Skanska employees who make time to help students with their homework and get a better grip on challenging subjects. "They are very smart and it's fun to be here. You're amazed by how much and how fast they learn," he said.

Alshanice Toney is one of the students who benefits from meeting the volunteers at the learning center. Alshanice says she dreams of going to college and getting her master's degree in education so one day she can give back to the community.

"I like helping people," the eight-grader said, "and I think they're contributing to my needs. Most people need this extra push and I need it because the EOG's are coming up and I need help."

Skanska's involvement goes a lot deeper. In the summer of 2007 the company and its sub-contractors gave the learning center a complete makeover. Ozgenc says being in a new and clean environment means a lot to the children who come here every day. "It's part of giving and in return we see the improvement and we are in the community and we feel it is our duty to give back to the community."

You can see more about this story in an Eyewitness News special called Invest in Success. Watch ABC11 Saturday night at 7 p.m.


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