By Claire Cylkowski
Our recent service event at Kennedy-Longfellow/Putnam Ave Schools with the Boston Celtics and Optum had a fantastic turnout! The City Year Boston Civic Engagement team partnered with the Boston Celtics, Optum, and schools for a day of community service. We engaged sponsors, athletes, and students in the rejuvenation of these two great schools, which inhabit the same building.
Throughout the course of the day we:
- painted over 50 fun and colorful murals;
- revitalized the playground graphics by adding 1 United States map, 2 foursquare courts, and 2 hopscotch courts;
- constructed 36 shelves to organize the library;
- refreshed 2 teachers’ lounges with soothing fresh coats of paint.
We believe that service to our schools extends beyond the classroom with the students; We also believe that everybody in the educational institution deserves to work in a space that reflects the respect and admiration we have for our staff, faculty, and administration–all of whom play an immensely important role in the educational experience of the students.
The best part of the service event was the fact that we served two schools in the same day. Throughout the day, we were routinely greeted by students who stopped to talk with volunteers about the service projects and to thank everyone for taking the time to paint beautiful images on their walls. Interacting with the students and their parents was a great opportunity for the volunteers to connect directly with the school community and see the impact their service was making on the student’s pride in their school. Everyone had a great time meeting the students and hearing the joy that the beautification would bring every day. One student proclaimed, “Thank you! This is beautiful; I love the colors you are adding to our hallways!”
Additionally, this event hosted a unique experience for the elected student government to paint murals in their school alongside the athletes of The Boston Celtics. I was lucky enough to speak with one of the student government representatives who worked on one of the murals with Kris Humphries, Jeff Green, MarShon Brooks, Kelly Olynyk, and Brandon Bass from the Celtics. She told me about she and her father had been trying get approval from the school to paint a mural in the entrance hallway. She was overflowing with joy to had the opportunity to take part in the process and to work with several of her favorite Celtics players. She was thankful to not only take part in the painting but was pleased to have a hallway that is now as warm and as welcoming as she always imagined.
About the author:
Claire Cylkowski is a 2013-2014 senior corps member serving on the Foundation To Be Named Later Boston Civic Engagement Team.