sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 29, 2008

help me paint over a problem
posted by soe 12:34 am

This coming Saturday, four coworkers and I will be getting up early and heading out to work in D.C. as part of an annual community service marathon. The event, Servathon 2008, is hosted by Greater D.C. Cares, a nonprofit that matches volunteers up with community service projects year-round.

Servathon 2008 is focusing on improving the D.C. schools and buildings this year and more than 3,000 area residents will pitch in to paint, landscape, and make general improvements to school facilities.

My friend John likes to refer to this sort of event as “Painting over the Problem.” In a way, it’s true that this is literally a cosmetic feel-good effort. You aren’t making a substantial contribution to the schools or their students in any meaningful way. On the other hand, when you walk into some of these school buildings, it can sometimes be hard to imagine that the infrastructure problems don’t interfere with the learning process. So I’d like to think that it does make a tangible, if small, contribution to education in D.C.

Our team, Science Serves, will be up at MacFarland Middle School in Petworth, which is 85 years old this year. If you live in the area and are free Saturday morning, we welcome additional hands. If you aren’t able to pitch in personally, but would still like to make a difference, Greater D.C. Cares has asked each participant to raise funds.

My donation page can be found here.

According to the Servathon website, small donations still make a big difference:

  • $10 buys the landscape materials to revitalize the grounds of a high school
  • $25 will help paint an elementary school classroom
  • $50 will help restock a D.C. Public School library

A fresh coat of paint won’t fix D.C.’s schools. But it will help D.C.’s students focus on what they should be learning — and remind them that an awful lot of people care about their success.

Thanks for any assistance you’re able to offer.

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