By Henry Altman
I am by no means a good painter, yet this past weekend on the first LearnServe service day I found that that does not mean that I can’t help people by painting.
I arrived at the meeting place for the trip a few minutes late, however luckily for me I was not the only person who had trouble with the metro. Once all 8 of us who were signed up for the service day had arrived, we walked to the Sharpe Health School. The school looked old on the outside, however it did not look more downtrodden than any of the other schools surrounding it. After I signed in and had my second breakfast, bagels and orange juice, I quickly looked around the school and saw what the problem was. Although this school supplied children with special needs with the resources they needed, the school did not seem like a happy learning enviroment. We were herded into the auditórium and told about the murals we would be painting to remedy this. The Fellows were allowed to choose which mural to paint, and we decided to stick together and work on the aquarium mural.
This was the first time in a number of years that I actually got to do a creative art project, and as I did not want to make the octupus resemble a turtle or the other way around I decided to paint waves. I found even this difficult, accidentally painting the turtle and Octupus blue a number of times. Despite this, we managed to finish the mural with time to spare and so some of us decided to check out the other murals. Where before the walls were bare, the whole school was now covered with murals of fun animals and other designs. I was amazed at how different the school not only looked, but also how warm and inviting it felt. Everytime the kids come to school they will be greeted by the smiling faces of cartoon characters. We helped out with another mural, talked with Scott and took a picture. A couple of us made decided to go to Chipotle afterwards, which Scott says happens after every LearnServe event.
This service day showed me that anyone can help the community, no matter their skill set, and I am now going to make sure I utilize everyone who is willing to help with my venture. The sevice day also taught me how important appearances can be. Although we only changed the appereance of a few walls, the murals change the whole vibe of the school.
This was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in a long time and cannot wait for the next service day.