A Pocket Full of Hope shows off future home to U.S. senator

futurehome

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (left) and Lester Shaw, executive director of A Pocket Full of Hope, talk Wednesday while walking through the Big 10 Ballroom, a north Tulsa building being reconstructed by the nonprofit to serve as its new home. JESSIE WARDARSKI/Tulsa World

 

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Nonprofit repairs historic venue in north Tulsa

<span class=”author vcard”><span class=”fn”>By Mike Averill Tulsa World</span></span>
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Work to transform a historic north Tulsa music venue into a nonprofit and community revitalization hub is moving forward.

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Once complete, the former Big 10 Ballroom — where acts such as Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Ike &amp; Tina Turner performed — will house A Pocket Full of Hope, a nonprofit that uses creative arts to help young people transition into responsible adults.

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The agency purchased the property, located at 1624 E. Apache St., in 2008 and has been working to get it up to code.

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The building fell into disrepair after closing in the mid-1960s and was in need of extensive renovations.

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Lester Shaw, the agency’s executive director, said he’s frequently asked why he didn’t just build from the ground up instead of renovating.

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He said the building’s history will make it easier to connect with the youth he serves.

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“We believe that without a historic perspective it’s harder to empower youth. We wanted to give them something that they can try and commit to,” Shaw said. “What better way to connect with young people and give them a bar to reach.”

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On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. James Lankford was in north Tulsa to tour the facility with Shaw.

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Lankford said the project is another example of positive economic development happening in north Tulsa.

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“This is a building that sat empty for 20 years and then eight years ago they get a vision to see a way to not only restore the building but to help people remember … what this building used to mean to the people in the community,” he said.

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Lankford added that the revitalization project and the work A Pocket Full of Hope is doing have a lot of potential.

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“What they are planning here is not only a remembrance and connection to the community, which is good for the community as a whole, but they’re talking about after-school programs, mentoring programs, arts events. … There are a lot of things that can happen in this building,” he said.

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Renovations are expected to be completed by next summer.

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In addition to housing the nonprofit, the property will be used for various community and outreach programs.

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A Pocket Full of Hope, which currently operates from a two-story house at 1325 E. Apache St., serves about 300 children each year through its programs that use music, dance, film and photography to help them develop life skills and social responsibility.

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“I have a lot less time ahead of me than I do behind me, and I want to do my part to leave the world a better place,” Shaw said, discussing the building. <span class=”print_trim”>“This is Pocket Full of Hope’s vision extending to the whole community.”</span>

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Mike Averill

918-581-8489

<em>mike.averill@tulsaworld.com</em>

<em>Twitter: @Mike_Averill</em>

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