Paint California: Students Brush Up on Service

by University Relations

Students at Crestview Elementary School in Vista, California, smelled fresh paint Monday, October 22. They even had to dodge "wet paint" signs on their way to the cafeteria.

As part of the Second Annual Paint California Program, nearly 100 volunteers from Azusa Pacific University joined forces with Crestview Elementary constituents to paint much of the school Saturday, October 20. "We only expected to paint four wings of the campus and two administrative offices. Yet this crew, consisting of college students and Crestview's students, parents, teachers, and school administrators, completed 16 buildings before they were done," said Lori Kildal, Ph.D., executive director of Azusa Pacific's San Diego Regional Center.

Azusa Pacific senior Brian Sadler, student director of Azusa outreach in the Office of Ministry and Service, coordinated the team effort, making the arrangements to get Azusa Pacific students to the painting sites. Seventy students and administrators made the two-hour drive from Azusa to Vista, combining with graduate students from the local regional center.

"Paint California is a natural extension of Azusa Pacific University's commitment to community service," said Alice V. Watkins, Ph.D., dean of APU's School of Education and Behavioral Studies. "Our students are involved with community service projects around the world, so driving to San Diego to paint a school is, according to one young lady, 'really easy.'"

Azusa Pacific University contributed similarly to Paint California last fall as three elementary schools in San Diego County received exterior painting. For 2001, the university increased its financial contribution by becoming the project's local community partner.

APU students loved being a part of Paint California so much last year, they came back for this year's event," said Kildal. "I believe it's because they can see such a transformational change in just a few hours."

In addition to Crestview Elementary School, the more than 800 Paint California volunteers painted 20 homes owned by low-income seniors and those physically or mentally challenged; Laurel Elementary School in Oceanside; two Klassic Kids day-care centers; the National Football League Youth Education Town in San Diego; Sullivan's Group Home in La Mesa; and Lakeside Community Center. Vista Paint, official paint and technical partner of Paint California, donated all the painting material and ladders.

"By year's end, the total value of benefits received by those in need from the Paint California beautification projects will easily exceed $1 million," said Marshall G. Zotara, a Paint California representative. "Because the total value of benefits received by recipients statewide continues to grow, Paint California plans to expand next year into Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Inland Empire."

"For the second straight year, Paint California had comments from our other partners, that the Azusa Pacific team is by far the most dedicated, focused, and well-behaved college student group that Paint California ever experienced. APU even had a children's wing where Crestview's young students could paint with their parents to learn volunteerism, then participate in arts and crafts, physical activities, and school activities while their parents continued to paint."