By Mikala Skalecki, AmeriCorps member serving on the Beech Street Elementary School Team.
In a moving display of power through community, 280 volunteers gathered at Parker-Varney Elementary and Hillside Middle School to participate in Comcast Cares Day on Saturday May 4th. Comcast Cares Day is an annual day of service where community members come together to improve our local neighborhoods. Volunteers included Comcast employees, City Year staff and AmeriCorps members, and other community members.
I spent the day redoing door-frames and aligning painting tape, tasks that required precision and attention to detail to ensure that our final product was excellent. Although I personally serve at Beech Street Elementary, I felt connected to the students at Parker-Varney and wanted them to feel refreshed when walking into school. Last year, our community decorated Beech Street's walls with painted flags representing its diverse student body; the students still trace these flags with their fingers on the way to class and I am sure that the murals gift them with a sense of belonging. I was excited to create the same welcoming environment for the students at Parker-Varney for this Comcast Cares Day.
The principal of Parker-Varney Elementary School closed out Comcast Cares Day in promising, “571 students will be happy on Monday.” From painting to mulching to cleaning out closets, a beautiful myriad of volunteers came together to offer their best for the school. Handmade woodworked signs and ceiling tile murals were crafted. Purple, blue, and yellow walls were adorned in hues as vibrant as the students who would walk beside them for years to come. The word “CARES,” symbolizing the school’s values of Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control, was hand painted in the stairwell to remind students daily that they are appreciated.
Teachers from Parker-Varney rolled up their sleeves in a six-day week, selflessly giving back to students from whom they had received so much love and joy. Children tried their hand at painting with rollers, “coloring between the taped lines” alongside the business people, politicians, teachers, and AmeriCorps members who represent their futures. Little did they know these volunteers had joined forces to serve the children who represent their futures as well.
Regardless of age, occupation, or ability, every wonderful volunteer found a role (or five) in serving on that Saturday. They all had at least one thing in common: smiles on their faces.
If you would like to check out more pictures from Comcast Cares Day, click this link!