Every quarter the Center for Community Engagement organizes a large-scale volunteering event, giving students, staff and faculty a chance to get involved, even if they don’t have time to volunteer regularly.
For the Garey High School makeover, volunteers painted murals, planted gardens, cleaned, and worked on updating the inside of the Pomona school – much more than the regular volunteer experience of pulling weeds or sorting through canned food.
“Pulling weeds is not engaging – we wanted students to get a little bit more,” says Christina Gonzalez-Salgado, academic service-learning coordinator for the Center for Community Engagement. “So they renovated a parent center and the ASB room. They painted, they put furniture together – just like you see on Extreme Home Makeover; it was the same thing for the high school.”
This project was part of a larger movement started by the Inland Empire United Way called “Make A Difference Day.” Forty volunteers worked from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and received breakfast, lunch and a free event T-shirt.
“Throughout the day there were 22 projects going on, so it’s really a completely new school now that we’re done with it,” says Megan McDanel, the campus volunteer coordinator at Cal Poly Pomona. “Creating a space in one day that’s going to impact students and give them the encouragement to further their education — that’s really something.”
(Top photo: Cal Poly Pomona students Paulie Dang, left; Diana Ascencio, center; and a Garey High School student build furniture in the ASB room at Garey High School. Bottom photo: Cal Poly Pomona students worked alongside Garey High School parents and students to fix up the Parents Room.)