The musing one spent a very satisfying Martin Luther King Day by volunteering to help fix up a special pre-school in Oakland. The work party was sponsored by my company and organized by a fine organization, Rebuilding Together Oakland. I'm really glad to know about this group, I'd like to work with them again. This group of industrious people helps folks in need throughout the city by donating their time and expertise to fix up their homes. They also will rehabilitate the facilities of nonprofit organizations that work directly with low-income communities.
"provides early childhood education and comprehensive mental health services for children ages 2-1/2 through 5 years old, whose life traumas have resulted in extreme behavioral, emotional, and/or learning challenges."
There were about 25 of us and we spread out like industrious ants throughout the place. The whole day was spectacularly well organized. There was plenty of equipment, ladders, masking tape, paint, brushes, rollers. They even had booties for our shoes so we wouldn't track paint all over the carpet. I prefer to find a quiet place to work, so I gravitated to a little, out of the way room where I started removing electrical plates to prepare for painting. I was soon joined by two women, Katie and Kathleen. We formed a very good team and the work went along swimmingly. We soon had the room prepped for painting.
For some reason they'd decided to change the room from blue to pink. It was maddening to try to cover the blue walls with pink paint, only to have the blue under-color show through. We didn't have time to really put on two coats. So we kept piling on more and more pink. It looked ok in the end, I think. Anyway, we kept remembering that the clients, being 3 and 4 years old, won't care if a little blue is mixed in with their pink room.
There was one funny break right before lunch. The day was freezing cold and they gathered us outside for a shivering group photo. Then they wanted to give us a couple speeches. It was tough to pay attention to whatever they were saying when all we wanted was to get back inside to eat lunch and get warm.
All in all, it was a great day and I imagine the teachers and kids will have quite a pleasant surprise when they see their newly painted center when they return. And I want to do more projects like this with the RTO. It's wonderful to see the civic pride of my city.