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On a cool, damp Saturday in May, while most people were still snoozing, nearly 200 AmeriCorps Members of City Year Philadelphia were awake before dawn, preparing for a full day of service. The mission—to transform the halls, gym, auditorium and just about every other part you can imagine of Ethel Allen Promise Academy. We painted nearly 50 education-themed murals, built a brand-new teachers’ lounge and beautified the blacktops and fading façade of this north Philadelphia K-8 school with eye-catching colors.
The makeover of Allen School was powered by an estimated 500 volunteers from Wells Fargo, 200 AmeriCorps Members, and a City Year Civic Engagement (CE) team of seven Project Leaders as part of the annual Wells Fargo Day of Caring.
Darryl Bundrige, Executive Director and Vice President of City Year Philadelphia spoke to CBS Philly about the Wells Fargo partnership. “It’s really what we all should be doing to leverage the talents and skills and the resources of both sides to move things forward in our country, and if you look at over time, so many of the great things that have happened have been through private-public partnerships.”
Though this giant school makeover event was not your “typical day” experience of a Corps Member—our day-to-day work focuses on mentoring our students in the classroom—the Philadelphia Corps, along with all other City Year sites, hosts four of these large-scale service events throughout the year. While different than everyday service, beautifying a school through educational artwork goes hand-in-hand with our daily tutoring with students. As Ivan Vivar, a Civic Engagement Project Leader, said, “It’s still about showing for students that people care about them, believe in them and are investing in their future.”
Liam Cummings, another Project Leader explained, “Think about the 6th grader who is ready to give up on school, [He is] going to walk into a brand new looking building and give it a second chance. To him, this will matter a whole lot.”
Written by Dennis Elwell, City Year Philadelphia AmeriCorps Member serving at G.W. Childs Elementary
During the regular academic year, Wells Fargo supports the work of City Year in the classroom at the McMichael Morton School in West Philadelphia.