One of the best ways to get acclimated to a new environment is to simply dive in head-first. That’s just what our corps did this past Tuesday when our senior corps, first-year corps members, and members of our staff all came together for a service project at Bakersville Elementary School. Over the course of three hours, we completed a number of painting projects, including painting the school’s pledge in the cafeteria and paw prints in the hallways.
Although our work is largely focused on in-school service, it’s still important to take the time to perform physical service as well. A large part of our efforts in the classroom is ensuring that school is a fun, safe, and positive environment for students to come and learn. By performing school beautification projects like this, we are transforming schools like Bakersville into bright and vibrant communities in which students can take pride. One such project is a puzzle in the shape of a giant paw print in the cafeteria. Inside each piece of the puzzle is one of the school’s values. If you are a student and you come into school and see a freshly painted mural on the walls of your building, it’s sure to put a smile on your face and make you feel more invested in your school community.
Speaking of community, these sorts of service events are also a great way to bring a new group of people together. Some first-week nervousness still remains amidst our new corps members, but yesterday’s service provided a great opportunity for them to mingle with one another and get to know the people they will be working alongside for the next year. It also allowed them to deepen their understanding of our service, our mission, and our community by giving them a chance to see one of our schools and leave their own personal touches behind. Hopefully the changes we made to Bakersville will ripple out into the world when the students return this fall. I know we all left proud of our work and feeling like we have the ability to make change even if just through simple acts of service.