On May 2, nearly 3,000 volunteers turned out at sites across the Greater Los Angeles area to bring about positive change by providing renovations and improvements to 38 schools, community centers, and neighborhoods. At one school in particular, Jane Addams Middle School (JAMS), students took the lead to coordinate their Workday site, from pitching the project, to raising funds, to facilitating the work on May 2.

Under the guidance of their language arts teacher, David Navarro, 26 students wrote business letters and presented their project proposal to representatives from Lawndale Unified School District, Sharefest and King’s Harbor Church. In addition to their efforts for bringing positive change to their school, these assignments allowed them to apply writing and presentation skills, putting their learning into action and practicing key life skills.

“My goal is to teach my students how to have a goal, develop a plan, and execute their plan using many of the skills they have learned at school,” said Navarro.”They have written descriptive paragraphs about the various proposed projects, written business letters, created presentations using Google Slides, and presented to a group of adults. The commitment, enthusiasm, and professionalism of my students have been very exciting and encouraging!”

The students’ letters brought in support from local community businesses, including:

More than $600 in donations from King’s Harbor Church
$1,500 in donations from Jane Addams ASB
$400 for plants from Sharefest
Coffee for Workday volunteers from Starbucks in Lawndale
Lunch for volunteers from Chick-fil-A in Hawthorne
Snacks for volunteers from CostCo in Hawthorne
20-gallons of paint from Dunn-Edwards Paints in Lawndale
Garden soil, mulch, a planter box, and landscape fabric from Lowes in Hawthorne
Mulch from Travers Tree Service in Lomita
The also pooled together 250 volunteers from several organizations, in addition to JAMS students, staff, and families. Volunteers participated from King’s Harbor Church, South Bay Church of God, Girl Scouts, Undivided, LA25 Foundation of the Arts, and The Olson Duncan Agency.

As a result of their efforts, numerous projects were completed at the school, including painting at the entrance, student store, and several other key areas; cleaning in the preschool classroom, computer room, and more; weeding and planting throughout the school; and creating a vegetable garden for the preschool students.

“This was a huge undertaking that took many months to organize. I am really proud of my students for their commitment and hard work. They are an inspiration to me,” said Navarro.