On Saturday I participated in the American Express Members Project School Day, organized in affiliation with New York Cares, at PS 290Q in Maspeth, Queens. The goal was to spend a few hours of the day (9 am to 2 pm) trying to make a positive difference in a local school. As the event sponsor, AMEX provided all of the supplies for the project, as well as generously providing a light breakfast and lunch for all volunteers, and a gift bag containing a disposable digital camera, to help us chronicle the day's events, and a t-shirt to wear while volunteering. At sign-in we were asked to choose between doing straight painting, painting murals (that's what we did), or furniture assembly. After my initial enthusiasm at sign-up, the possibility that I would forever mar these young children's school hallway and give them nightmares with my horrible drawing skills, if the mural had to be painted free-hand, sent me into near panic. My heart rate went back to normal once I was informed that the mural had already been stenciled and that we were basically doing color by numbers.
Before splitting us up into our respective groups, the principal of the school thanked us for our time and offered an open invitation to visit the school when the little people benefiting from our work were around. My group trotted up to the second floor, and after getting a run down on safety instructions, each of us parked ourselves in front of a blank stenciled wall and got to painting. Here are some before and after pictures.
Pretty cool, huh? My contributions were the bushes, leaves and flower above. My friend painted the rockin' bird and tree. It was a great day and it felt good to know there would be some smiling little faces come Monday morning when students got a look at the hallway we'd worked on.