On Saturday, April 27, Granite Park Jr. High participated in the 12th annual Comcast Cares Day, a national movement that brings together thousands of volunteers from around the country to focus efforts on local schools in the spirit of volunteerism and community building.
At Granite Park Jr. High, over 450 volunteers gathered to provide resources and helping hands for an intense makeover of the school that included cleaning windows, painting inside and out, beautifying the grounds, creating 28 community garden plots, raking, collecting garbage, and much more! Volunteers were joined by Comcast employees, community representatives (such as South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood), school administration and faculty, residents, students, and families all working together to create a safe and welcoming environment at Granite Park Jr. High.
The day began with registration where each volunteer received a Comcast Cares t-shirt and a warm welcome by Granite Park Jr. High administration and Comcast employees. Afterwards, volunteers were divided into groups and assigned particular tasks throughout the school. One of the biggest tasks assigned to volunteers was building 28 plots for a community garden. These community gardens allow for families of students to feel that Granite Park Jr. High is a community school where all can gather to build lasting relationships and create community cohesiveness. Many volunteers, students, and South Salt Lake families worked side-by-side throughout the morning to accomplish this large task.
Aaron Wilson, an administrator at Granite Park Jr. High said, “Seeing the community of South Salt Lake pour out their support on behalf of our school was humbling and awe-inspiring. As students of Granite Park worked alongside their peers, families, teachers, and citizens of South Salt Lake, they realized how many people are invested in seeing success in their lives and at the school.”
Renee Stirling DeHaan, Assistant Principal and Granite Park Jr. High, said, “I want to thank Aaron Wilson for all his hard work for organizing Comcast Cares Day. The conversations and people were the highlights of my experience…laughing, joking, getting to know families and individuals on a personal level, is a valued treasure to me and my family. I love the community in South Salt Lake!”
One volunteer, Brian Fleming, who worked on re-painting the outside basketball courts, said of his experience, “This was such a great event! It was a great privilege to work side-by-side with the students in a great cause!”
Carmela Castaneda, the Community Schools Coordinator at Granite Park Jr. High, said, “It was amazing seeing everyone rally around the school for this event. Granite Park Jr. High is truly a natural gathering place for all families of South Salt Lake!”
Students also chimed in, “My experience volunteering today was great! Everyone was asking if they could help!”
Undertaking such a large-scale project is both time-consuming and complex. Granite Park Jr. High did a fantastic job of organizing hundreds of volunteers to create an experience that was meaningful for all who participated.
In addition to spear-heading these volunteer efforts, Comcast also makes a donation in behalf of Granite Park Jr. High to the Granite Education Foundation, a program that helps facilitate the fostering of programs, alliances, and resources to impact student learning and assist educators in the public school system. For more information, please visit: http://www.graniteeducationfoundation.org/page/9
Volunteers, school faculty and staff, residents, and students all agreed that this was a memorial event for everyone who participated. It was, as the staff at the front office said, “A great day at Granite Park Jr. High!”