I was anxiously awaiting the dawn of the District of Columbia Public Schools’ Beautification Day at Garfield Elementary School in ward 8, where a team of City Year corps members serve full-time. It was my first project as a corps member serving on the CSX Civic Engagement Team, which specializes in planning service days to engage the community.
I had ambled in, uncertain how the day would progress, but within the blink of an eye, I saw that the collective effort of sixty something corps members from City Year had created a long lasting transformation. We painted murals inside the schools and blacktop games outside; we also built planter boxes for gardening.
Upon exiting the campus, I was met with faces swelling with pride. Neighbors who passed by on the street sent looks of respect to the DCPS Beautification Day volunteers. When I met the face of a smiling young girl at the bus stop, I knew that this would be the beginning of a wonderful year.