“These guys are fun!” Four words, spoken by a rising second grader, that perfectly summed up the thirty AbelsonTaylor volunteers who spent Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at Beidler Elementary in Garfield Park last week.
Thanks to some help from UI Junior Board member Tori Conway, AT decided to kick off their first annual Summerfest by partnering with the UI team. Over the course of three days, three teams of ten volunteers divided their time between playing and painting.
For the first part of the day, the volunteers joined Urban Initiatives’ summer camp participants on the playground, sweating it out with games like Junk Food Tag, Foxtails, and Bucket Brigade and giving (and sometimes receiving) a world record number of piggy back rides. The campers spent part of the week teaching their new friends how to Nae Nae. The results were decidedly mixed, but a handful of volunteers got the campers’ stamp of approval for their renditions.
When camp ended at 2:00, the volunteers headed inside to apply some of their creativity to a dull second floor hallway. Each team of volunteers was tasked with creating two 8’ x 4’ murals in just over two hours. Beidler’s administration wanted murals that focused on health and fitness, education, and school themes, but the volunteers had complete creative license to design and paint whatever they wanted. This was a tall order, but all three of the teams rose to the challenge and created AMAZING art.
AT’s volunteers put in a ton of service hours last week, and it was easy to see the result of their work,” said UI team member Kyle. “Based on laughter and smiles, it was clear that our kids had an immediate connection with all the volunteers, and Beidler’s administrators have already decided to spread the murals out in the school so all the students and teachers can enjoy them every day.”
We couldn’t have asked for a better group of volunteers to work with last week, and everyone at UI – adults and kids included – is looking forward to the next AT-UI collaboration.