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'Pittsburg Launch' to fix-up dilapidated building

PITTSBURG, Kans. — It’s never too early to make a difference in your community, and some high school students are taking that to heart in Pittsburg.

“We have a brand new batch of students just started in August,” said Mindy Cloninger, Launch Director of Community Partnerships.

While only in its second full year of operations, the Launch program is already helping Pittsburg high school students make a difference.

“Students collaborate with actual companies and organizations around the Pittsburg area on very specific projects that they problem solve for their clients. One of them was the Polymer Center which is now known as NIMA at Pittsburg State University. They worked with Leafy Greens which is the shipping container farm and it is now located at the high school,” said Cloninger.

One of its biggest projects this year got its start when Pittsburg city officials approached the last generation of Launch participants.

“Our students designed a green space where a currently dilapidated building stands that’s owned by the City of Pittsburg Land Bank.”

It’s called “The Spot” — and it’s designed to appeal to local high school and college students. The focus now is funding.

“We’ve applied for some grants and have received a couple of those already and very nice gifts so we’re appreciative of that. We’re working with the city who is Launch’s client and so they will take the lead of the step-by-step on what happens next,” said Cloninger.

All while helping develop deeper connections between the students and their hometown.

“They began to be more interested in city commission meetings, school board meetings. They really connected with the infrastructure of their hometown,” she added.

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