Today’s guest blogger is Bettina Hahn-Lawson, Corps Member on the New York Civic Engagement Team (NYCE).
The New York Civic Engagement team eagerly awaited buses to unload volunteers ready to labor over projects for a very deserving school and a community in Astoria, Queens, on Tuesday, July 30th. Just in time for the afternoon sun, Barclays employees hustled into P.S. 17Q, Henry David Thoreau School ready for a day of powerful service. In anticipation of all of the meaningful work ahead, Barclays was the recipient of a moving homage by Principal Rebecca Heyward, in which she reminded us of the Margaret Mead quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
In the past, P.S. 17Q and did not grant recess for its K-5 grade students. In hopes of changing the school’s outdoor space to capture a more positive and fun atmosphere, many of our projects focused centrally on playground spaces. Playground graphics came to life on the asphalt at the front of the school. New murals now dressed the outside space, beckoning members of the community to stop during their midday strolls to give us nods of approval. The school now has a, “Travel the World” theme on its outer layer, beginning with a portrait of the world and ending with a map of Queens beside the headline, “Welcome to Queens.”
As Barclays worked outside on what was quite a hot day, volunteers not only constructed four raised planter beds for students, but they also carried the builds to their final destination outside of the school.
Meanwhile, Barclays lead groups of Kindergarten and first grade students through an introduction to nutrition. Students could be seen walking through the halls and counting their steps—mimicking the pedometers that they would be receiving later in the school year.
We would like to thank the P.S. 17 staff for inviting us into their school and community—and also to Barclays for all of their wonderful service! Please click here to see more pictures.