Ms. Meni has been teaching at Del Amo Elementary School in Carson, CA for years and always envisioned an empty courtyard on campus would someday be transformed into a Reading Garden for her students. Thankfully, Marathon Petroleum partnered with Sharefest, the City of Carson, and LAUSD to help Ms. Meni’s dream come to life. “It’s always been on my mind to be able to use this beautiful space that we have here, and when the Principal told me last year that we may be getting Sharefest to come out and create a reading garden I wanted to cry.” 

Marathon Petroleum reinforced their commitment yet again this year by sponsoring this Reading Garden at Del Amo Elementary. This summer, 1.5 miles away, Marathon finished an external beautification of Carnegie Middle School, then got right back to work at Del Amo Elementary. “I’m excited because this is the first time I’ve got my family out doing a volunteer event like this since moving to the Los Angeles area, and it’s great to get my kids out and show them what volunteering is all about,” said Chris Green, Marathon LA Refinery Technical Services Manager. The installation of the Reading Garden was Phase 2 of this beautification at Del Amo elementary school. Last year Marathon brought over 100 volunteers to paint 10 murals around the entire campus. 

“We collaborated with the City of Carson, Marathon Petroleum, Sharefest, LAUSD, and many volunteers to have this beautification project at Del Amo Elementary School, it’s a dream come true,” Arleen Bocatija Rojas Carson City Councilmember. The empty courtyard was transformed into a reading garden that will be a new place of learning for generations to come. “Sharefest, as our name suggests, has always been about collaboration. It’s a joy to continue to partner with Marathon as they make such an amazing impact in our community,” shared Chad Mayer, Executive Director of Sharefest. “We are honored to facilitate these collaborative efforts to transform schools for deserving teachers like Ms. Meni and the students they serve.”


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Seeing the completion of this garden has been a point of joy for everyone on campus, especially Principal Hanna Zaid, “It’s an exciting time because now that we’re back from the shutdown it’s like a new birth and this garden perfectly goes along with that, where the kids are able to see all the new growth. We are hoping to also see new growth with our students, as they learn and grow academically and socially.”

Students are already so grateful for this latest addition to their campus. A current student of Del Amo said “I want to thank Ms. Meni who was my teacher last year… and she was talking about how she really wanted to make the garden, and now that she achieved it, I think it’s a big thanks to her.”

Ms. Meni saw firsthand just how grateful her students were for this garden, “You should have seen my kids yesterday just to see the gardeners bringing in the materials and the trees. They were literally jumping for joy because I told them that when they come back on Monday, they’re gonna see this whole area transformed into something we can use this year and beyond.”

About Sharefest: 

Sharefest builds hope and pathways to economic success for youth facing significant barriers. Serving over 300 youth a year, their primary work takes place inside LAUSD Continuation High Schools from Wilmington to Watts. Sharefest students participate in college and career courses that accelerate earning the credits they desperately need to graduate. The Sharefest team mentors and provides students with the necessary skills, support, and connections to achieve their career and college goals. After high school graduation, youth continue to receive support, guidance, and mentoring as they enter into the workforce or community college. Sharefest’s work with youth is partially funded by facilitating service projects for area businesses who want to give back to their surrounding communities.

About Marathon Petroleum Corporation and the Los Angeles Refinery: 

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) is a leading, integrated, downstream energy company headquartered in Findlay, Ohio. The company operates the nation’s largest refining system. MPC’s marketing system includes branded locations across the United States, including Marathon brand retail outlets. MPC also owns the general partner and majority limited partner interest in MPLX LP, a midstream company that owns and operates gathering, processing, and fractionation assets, as well as crude oil and light product transportation and logistics infrastructure. More information is available at

MPC’s Los Angeles refinery is in Los Angeles County, near the Los Angeles Harbor. It manufactures cleaner-burning California Air Resources Board (CARB) gasoline and CARB diesel fuel, as well as conventional gasoline, distillates, petroleum coke, anode-grade coke, chemical-grade propylene, fuel-grade coke, heavy fuel oil and propane. The refinery ships products via its connections to several product distribution pipelines and terminals. Its Watson cogeneration plant produces 400 megawatts and is the largest cogeneration facility in California.