Saturday, October 30, 2010

Make a Difference Day: MADD Service!

Make a Difference Day Recap: By Maureen Dizon Corps Member serving at  Winston Education Campus

City Year DC first ever Graffitti Mural
Saturday, October 23, 2010 marked the 20th anniversary of Make a Difference Day (MADD) as a national day of service. For City Year, Washington D.C. and almost 200 external volunteers, it was a day of MADD powerful community service at Mamie D. Lee School in the Northeast quadrant.

Living just down the street from our service site, I arrived early to bear witness to the inspiring mass of red jackets making their way toward Mamie D. from the metro station. I was part of a team of Power Greeters, enthusiastically welcoming all volunteers and City Year folk to get them psyched for what was sure to be an amazing service day.

Along with a dedicated team composed of City Year corps members and alumni, Americorps members, middle school, high school, and college students, and Young Heroes, I spent the day scraping, priming, and painting the expansive fence around the school. This was a doozy of a project, but I was pleased to be able to take a tour of the grounds to see what other teams were up to.

Over the course of the day, Mamie D. Lee School went from bare white walls to bright, exciting canvasses, with over 120 murals painted both indoors and in the courtyard, with graffiti art Mural of the DC skyline on the exterior walls. Some masterpieces included renditions of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and an aquarium-themed Mural on all four walls of the pool room.

Construction projects included a picnic table, an outdoor classroom complete with a stage and tree-stump seats, and a sensory garden with a pergola that is sure to bloom beautiful flowers come springtime.

A brand-new feature of our MADD Service Day was the Service Expo. It highlighted various organizations, such as Food & Friends, Goodwill, The Women’s Collective, City Year Young Heroes Program , and many more. The expo was open to everyone and anyone seeking more information about different community service organizations in the D.C. area.

It is not uncommon to feel nervous or overwhelmed by the enormous number of projects laid out before us on a service day. However, these feelings are abated once we get to work and find ourselves communicating and collaborating with a diverse group of volunteers and people with whom we have never before spoken. When we see a work of art in the form of children sitting at a newly constructed picnic table, or students admiring a rendition of a Matisse painting, it goes without saying that something wonderful has occurred. Whenever or wherever we serve, we unconsciously make a difference, in ourselves and in the lives of others.

This past Saturday, we got MADD, and it was beautiful.

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