Written by Emma Comesana-Vila, AmeriCorps Member, Sylvia Cassell Elementary School
Walking into Clyde Arbuckle Elementary school, the City Year San Jose/ Silicon Valley staff and AmeriCorps members gathered around piles of wood and blank walls. They were aware that, with the help of over 350 volunteers, the blank walls would become masterpieces; the wood piles would become 20 benches, 10 picnic tables, and 18 garden beds. The Corps, who make the highly improbable possible every day, were about to do it again. The AmeriCorps members walked on to the Arbuckle campus the same way they started the year. It was evident that a difference would be made, the work would be hard, and with a unified team, their goals were attainable. City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley, and fellow volunteers took an average looking elementary school and doused it with color, character, inspiration and whimsy.
City Year views Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as more than just a day of remembrance and celebration. City Year works to keep Dr. King’s ideals alive every day. They work to provide all students, from every background with equal opportunities and exposure to a quality education. City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley seeks to spend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day working to provide our wonderful students with the beautiful learning environment they deserve. City Year works to join together all members of the community to work towards a common goal, a more vibrant, loving, tolerant future.
The AmeriCorps members finished their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of service covered in dirt, paint, and wood stain. It was visible that their bodies were exhausted. However, despite fatigue, their eyes were bright with excitement and pride as they stood in awe of the transformation at Clyde Arbuckle Elementary. A ton of hard work and dedication came from Apple, Synnex, Microsoft and alumni volunteers during the service day, and this transformation could not have happened without them. Together, volunteers completed 1,800 hours of service, in just one day. Along with all they built, they moved and potted 740 bags of soil, installed a picket fence, and built 3 outdoor chalkboards for a new outdoor classroom. They painted 3 cityscape wall murals, as well as painted and installed dozens of internal and external murals. Coming together to achieve a common goal helped change the lives of current and future students at Arbuckle. All of City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley has a deep pride for the work we do, the tasks we accomplish and all of the lives we touch along the way.