By Allen Magnusson, first year AmeriCorps member on the McDonough Elementary School team
On Saturday, April 22, more than 250 volunteers came together at Northwest Elementary School in Manchester, helping to beautify the school building by completing a diverse and exciting range of projects. The morning of community service was part of the annual Comcast Cares Day, the nation’s largest single-day corporate service effort. Comcast NBCUniversal is the team sponsor for the City Year team serving at the elementary school. Naturally, this long-lasting partnership offered the school building as the perfect location around which to organize a community-wide day of giving back.
Even at 8:00 am, the damp and grey morning was immediately lightened by the joy and optimism from the entire group of volunteers. Individuals from Comcast, City Year, Southern New Hampshire University, Northwest school community, and greater Manchester all worked side by side, armed with a small arsenal of shovels, rakes, and paintbrushes. Entire interiors were given a fresh coat of eye-popping paint and an old, flaking playground mural was transformed into what should prove a new, aesthetic centerpiece for the school. The school’s playground was revitalized with the introduction of a new sandbox, and thousands of pounds of mulch were shoveled as part of an impressive landscape initiative that promised to breathe new life into previously faded flowerbeds and gardens.
Shelly Larochelle, Northwest Elementary’s principal, spoke at the morning’s start. She stressed that even a new coat of paint could provide ineffable joy to the students and community of the school. The payoff of events like Comcast Cares Day genuinely speaks for itself. By volunteering alongside each other, not only did we have the chance to connect across generations and organizations, but our few hours of spring cleaning would have a tangible and meaningful effect on the vibrancy of our communities. Comcast Cares Day, most succinctly, acted as a simple reaffirmation of the old adage that “many hands make light work.” It is certainly true. A small, passionate, and concerted effort from all of us is enough to enact large-scale change, and help make our communities more beautiful and stronger for all of us.