Volunteers give P.S. 73 a massive makeover

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On Wednesday, July 16, P.S. 73 and surrounding areas of the Highbridge Section of the Bronx received a generous makeover.

Children for Children, a not-for-profit dedicated to engaging youth in service, teamed up with Digitas, a New York marketing and interactive design agency, for the third year for the “Grow Involved! School-Community Makeover.”

The program, designed to show youth that through hands-on service everyone has something important to give, dedicated an entire day to enhancement projects at the school and nearby parks.

“We had 1,000 people there. It was pretty remarkable,” Sara Garlick, director of development for Children for Children said.

Approximately 200 students and 100 community members joined the 700 Digitas employees that took the day off of work to help with the grand scale community cause.

While Garlick explained, “Bringing 1,000 volunteers together on any given day is a feat in itself,” she said even more impressive was the work the group was able to accomplish through the various revitalization efforts at P.S. 73, Nelson Park and the nearby Taqwa Community Farm.

Dispersing the crowd to the various locations, Garlick said a team of talented artists began painting at the 1020 Anderson Avenue site promptly at 8:15 a.m. to transform the school’s empty walls into beautiful canvasses of color.

“They tried to make murals that collaborated with the students’ lesson plans and the school’s theme,” Garlick explained.

At the same time, just a couple of blocks away at W. 164th Street and Ogden Avenue, a team of 150 dug deep in the dirt to spruce up what had sadly become the highly overgrown Taqwa Community Farm.

In addition to clearing the land of its waist high weeds, the group built a large grape trellis, tool shed, outdoor stage and chicken coop.

Also bearing the heat was the team that cleaned, restored and created painted pavement games, such as four square and hopscotch, in Nelson Park, W. 166th Street and Nelson Avenue.

The project’s planning efforts began several months ago when Digitas employees met with P.S. 73 faculty, staff and students, as well as local community members, in order to best understand their needs.

And it all paid off.

“Really the most amazing thing to come out of the day is the unity and to see everyone come together,” Garlick said.

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Updated 5:29 pm, October 21, 2011
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