Volunteers spent their day sprucing up a Tulsa school Monday, as part of a larger effort to help kids succeed in school and graduate. It was part of the Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Junior.
About 40 members of the nonprofit City Year Tulsa spent the day painting and beautifying the school, and more than 200 people helped virtually.
The hallways at East Central Junior high have been empty this school year, as Tulsa Public Schools students learn from home. Monday, they were filled with Americorps volunteers with City Year Tulsa, a nonprofit for young adults doing a year of service.
They're now helping 10 Tulsa schools.
"We focus on lower income communities. We plug into schools and our mission is to increase graduation rates," said Service leader Tatiana Sanchez.
Sanchez said the corps members partner with teachers and will mentor kids one on one. Each year, group members transform a school for their MLK Day of Service.
It was East Central's first time partnering with City Year, and volunteers painted murals, wrote inspiring messages, and got the school ready to hopefully welcome kids soon.
"In a year that's been grim and gray, it's nice to have some bright spots like we have today," said Scott Griffith.
Principal Scott Griffith said kids, faculty and staff are all struggling this school year, and he's thankful the organization can provide help to those kids who need it.
"What they offer is not painting walls, they're here to build connections with students,” Griffith said.
Usually, hundreds of volunteers would be helping, but due to COVID-19, more than 200 community volunteers painted canvases with inspiring messages for the group's virtual project.
So, when it's time for kids to fill these halls once again, they'll be greeted with a more inspiring place to learn.
Griffith said the school also got new lighting, paint, and an air system thanks to bond money.
TPS said kids are scheduled to return to the classroom in March.