ARI Summer Interns Volunteered to Give a Local School a New Playground to Tread On

This summer, ten ARI interns led by their peer, Steven Reitz, proposed, planned and constructed a new playground at the Howard R. Yocum Elementary school in Maple Shade NJ. At the beginning of the summer, ARI tasked the interns to complete a community service project, and Reitz knew right away that he wanted to combine something the company had plenty of with a cause that was meaningful to him.


Steven Reitz, front, digs a hole to install a new dinosaur at the Yocum School playground in Maple Shade while volunteers Khalid Walker and Kellie Riley help out in the background. Image courtesy of South Jersey Local News.

With the support of his mother, Yvonne Reitz, who is also the school’s vice principal, he developed the idea to use old tires from a dealership owned by ARI’s parent company, Holman Automotive, to provide a much needed playground makeover for the kids of the Yocum school. The interns nicknamed it their Spare a Tire project. Both the company and the school district have sustainability objectives, so the plan accomplished multiple goals for everyone involved: recycling and giving the students something new to use.

A group of 31 volunteers that included the interns plus teachers, staff, students and parents came together to complete the project in one day. Steven said he couldn’t have done it without the support he received from both the company and the school.

“It could not have been done without ARI behind it,” he said. “They are a very community-minded company and were more than happy to do lend a helping hand toward it.”

Read more about the project in an article published online by South Jersey Local News.