More than 80 university students joined forces with the University’s Center for Community Action and Research on Oct. 13 to take part in the 21st Annual New York Cares Paint-A-School Day.
The event is one of New York Cares’ largest of the year, with more than 6,000 students across NY coming together to paint, plant, and sort books throughout public schools. New York Cares Day starts at 10 am and ends at 3 pm. There are about 1 million children in NY public schools.
University students spent the entire day painting murals at Public School 21, Crispus Attucks School in Brooklyn, which serves prekindegraten to 5th grade students. Some of the work included a jungle-themed room, welcome signs, motivational messages and smiling vegetables throughout the student cafeteria.
Hasin Ahmed, the student outreach coordinator from CCAR said that the goal of Paint-A-School day is to “give Pace students the opportunity to help their community and to realize that having fun can also mean helping others.”
“I painted the monkey scene in the jungle-theme room and as tiring as it was to wake up early, the end result was satisfying. It was fun painting the murals knowing it would make the kids happy,” said Guo Wei Wu, sophomore.
More significantly, events like this encourage the university community to volunteer at future events.
CCAR wants to encourage students to be civically engaged in their local communities and the city.
Michelle Cheung, sophomore, said “I took part because I enjoy doing community service. I painted the papa gorilla and it was fun, enjoyable and a pleasant experience.”
According to CCAR, more than 240 participants – including students and staff – were interested in the event. Unfortunately, P.S. 21 was only able to accommodate 80 volunteers that day.
The response from the university students and staff to take part in Paint-A-School day surprised staff at CCAR.
“I was astounded at how many students were interested in helping. There was so much interest that it has me already looking at ways to increase the size of the event for next years, even if it means taking on two schools,” says Daniel Botting, assistant director at CCAR.
Similarly, the New York Cares on site staff was so stunned at the work done by the university students that she snapped photos to show staff at the office.
Ms. McLeoud, a staff member at P.S. 21 sent an email to CCAR saying, “I can’t thank the team from [the university] enough. Everything looks fabulous! Your students are everything we hope our students will grow up to be – bright, eager and hardworking.”
The kids at P.S. 21 were amazed Monday morning when they saw how vibrant their school became.
A similar New York Cares Day follows in the spring where students revamp a city public park. Students will build benches, tables, and plant gardens; assemble flowerbeds, paint signs and murals, and more. Photos from last years spring event can be seen on the CCAR Facebook page.