Organization: City Year/Ford Elementary
Activity: School Beautification
I have to say, I think I grew up spoiled or at least really fortunate. I grew up in a middle class family in Central New Jersey, attended public school and complained about my small town just like every other kid — a small town I now love. I didn’t love school, but managed to get by as a solid “B” student. I was bullied at times, but more on that on Day Eight. And, I think I was oblivious to all that Freehold, New Jersey had to offer me, including beautiful schools.
Today, I worked on beautifying a public school in LA and it was eye-opening for me to see what elementary schools look like outside of suburban Jersey. Thanks to the climate in LA, there is a great deal of outdoor space at schools. Sounds great, right? Well, most of that space is covered with concrete with little to no grass and plain white-ish walls that make you think you are in a prison yard, not an elementary school yard. Kids spend so much of their time at school and how upsetting that this is the type of setting they are supposed to be inspired in.
So, yes I now know that I was very fortunate to grow up attending schools with lush, rolling athletic fields and well-maintained interiors and exteriors.
And, thanks to the work of about 200 people from City Year and me, the kids at Ford Elementary School are fortunate too. See how we transformed the school.