Brighter Choice Community School, CFK Volunteers

Volunteer Spotlight: TEAK Fellowship and The Virginia Club of New York Bring Brighter Choice Community School’s Motto to Life

When you walk into Change for Kids partner school Brighter Choice Community School, the college theme is hard to miss. Bulletin boards are decked out with college flags, graduation garb, and feature interviews with teachers about their alma maters. Each classroom is named after a college and students are always encouraged by staff that they can achieve anything.

That’s because every child, every day, is college bound at Brighter Choice Community School.

This past weekend, Change for Kids hosted the first school beautification day at Brighter Choice with some incredible volunteers from the TEAK Fellowship and The Virginia Club of New York. Volunteers spent Saturday morning painting canvases with college logos to hang outside the classroom doors and represent each class.

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A TEAK fellow kicks off the project by carefully painting a graduation cap

The TEAK Fellowship, a program that helps talented students from low-income families achieve their potential, has volunteered with CFK for the past two years for an annual service day for mentors and fellows. Vanessa Greer, TEAK’s Director of  College Success, said school beautification days give TEAK fellows the opportunity to give back to neighborhoods they may have grown up in. (One TEAK fellow who volunteered grew up a few blocks from Brighter Choice!)

Greer mentioned that supporting public schools is important and aligns with TEAK’s goals. She said she hopes that this project will show Brighter Choice students that so many people support them, even outside the school community.

“The school space is really important to feel part of a community and feel safe and loved,” Greer said.

“It means a lot [for a student] to go to school and see beautiful paintings and feel like [he or she] belongs there.”

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Vanessa Greer, TEAK Director of College Success, (right) with TEAK volunteers

The Virginia Club of New York, an alumni association for the University of Virginia, is also a returning CFK volunteer group. The canvases were actually sketched and designed by Lorna Zhen, a board member at the Virginia Club of New York and CFK muralist extraordinaire! The Virginia Club volunteers saw the school beautification day as an opportunity to inspire Brighter Choice students to go to college. (University of Virginia, maybe?!)

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Members from the Virginia Club painting the morning away!

Thank you, TEAK Fellowship and The Virginia Club of New York, for bringing Brighter Choice Community School’s motto to life in each classroom!

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Final product for every classroom! The two PreK classes will get canvases representing their class names- the Butterflies and Bumble Bees.

 

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CFK Volunteers, P.S. 15

Volunteers Bring the Wild to the Halls of P.S. 15

On March 22, volunteers from school sponsors Apollo, Schreck Rose, and Change Team members took to the halls of P.S. 15 for the second annual CFK Beautification Day.  “It was a delight to see our parents and teachers working alongside CFK sponsors and volunteers,” said Laura Salmon, the school’s literacy coach. “It’s amazing to me to see so many people give up their Saturday—it’s corny to say, but—out of the goodness of their hearts.”

There were two groups of painters this year—one revitalizing the third floor hallway with a fresh coat of paint and another creating a new mural on the second floor. Hour by hour, the second floor was transformed into different animal habitats: safari, ocean, and forest, complete with native animals.

 

CFK Board Chairman Nicolas Koechlin, wife Catherine, their two sons and a friend were all on hand to help with the painting, too.

Another group helped give beloved classroom toys a good spring cleaning, while a final group built a cityscape out of milk cartons, inspired by students’ drawings. Their milk carton creations will be placed in the school garden where they will serve as imaginative planters.

Reflecting on the day, Janet, a volunteer from Apollo who had brought her son along, said, “It’s very rewarding to do a project like this, especially when it pertains to kids. I love kids. So, I love it. It’s been great.  And my five-year-old enjoyed it as well.”

“There wasn’t one project that didn’t give me a sense of joy,” said Laura Salmon, “because when the staff comes in and the students come in on Monday they will feel so cared for. It makes a huge difference to everyone in the building. It’s amazing.”

And here’s the reaction on Monday morning–pure joy. Thanks again to all our awesome volunteers, and a special shout out to our wonderful school sponsors, Apollo and Schreck Rose.