Piccolo School of Excellence is a turnaround school that experienced a complete overhaul of the teachers and admin 5 years ago. Through the tireless work of the staff, it has become a Level 1+ school within that time.! The school has high hopes of continuing its work with the children and also serving the needs of the community. Urban Initiatives was able to land a Corpsgiving-coordinated project with Digitas, who supplied 350 volunteers for a one day service project on July 26th.
In the span of 8 hours, the volunteers were able to complete work that would’ve taken 3 years for Piccolo staff to accomplish. Piccolo is located in a former high school; the 3rd floor had been abandoned, rendering it unusable. This floor was completely renovated by removing all lockers and cleaning and decorating the rooms with amazing artwork. A yoga room, band and music room was set up and painted. Both rooms will be fantastic ways to expose the students to those arts programs. The gym on the 3rd floor still had remnants of the old high school logo. Digitas volunteers repainted all of the walls and painted a Bulldog, Piccolo’s mascot, to allow Piccolo students to take ownership of that space.
Another huge project completed is an outdoor garden which will be an amazing resource for science and health education and a way to promote healthy eating and lifestyle. In addition, murals were painted on hallways throughout the school, outdoor concrete spaces were painted to provide games for recess, and new rooms were established for individual tutoring.
Digitas and Piccolo teachers worked side by side and enjoyed a day filled with laughter, collaboration, community bonds and a DJ to boot. Anna Bradsher, the Recess Coordinator at Piccolo, along with Kazim and April, program managers at UI, were astounded at the united effort of all involved and walked away stoked for what is still to come for Piccolo. Mr. Abello, the principal of Piccolo, has a long term plan to use the 3rd floor as a remote location for Adult ESL learners, mentorship programs for the students and a free daycare and center for teen mothers. This service project is an amazing impetus for change in Humboldt Park’s community.