Volunteers clean up at Allen Creek

MARYSVILLE — Fewer volunteers turned out for the third phase of the Allen Creek Elementary beautification project Sept. 18, but those who did show up were glad to be there.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed,” said Kimberly DeLap, former president of the Allen Creek Elementary PTSA, who’s thrown on her work clothes for all three phases of the project. “In August of last year, we had 65 volunteers. In May of this year, we had 38 volunteers. Today, including children, we’ll have about 15 volunteers.”

DeLap and Allen Creek Elementary Principal John Waldrop agreed that gray skies earlier that morning might have scared some volunteers away from what turned out to be a sunny day, while DeLap added that frustrations rooted in the ongoing poor economy could be playing their part.

“People are already spread so thin in their own lives that it can be a struggle for them to do anything else,” DeLap said. “The ones who do come out get so much out of it, though. They care so much, as a community, for this school.”

From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., members of the Allen Creek Elementary PTSA and Beautification Committee prepped, scraped and painted the trim, gutters and doors of the school’s southeast side gym area, around the back of the building and on its playground side. Volunteers will also did general weeding and trash pickup.

During the last school year, volunteers completed phases one and two of the project, which included painting the trim, gutters, doors and tiles of the front and most of the south side of the building, as well as previous rounds of general weeding and trash pickup.

“I’m grateful to Kimberly for putting this all together,” said Raquel Dufour, current president of the Allen Creek Elementary PTSA, as she ran her paint roller along the trim of one of the school’s portables. “We’re really pulling together as a school united and getting to know each other. It’s a lot of fun. I’m sorry I missed the other cleanups.”

Marysville School District math coach Paige Elwell touched up the trim of the main building while wearing a garbage bag over her sweater. She spoke highly of the PTSA’s support of this project and added that she’d been able to do some homework for her job during the day.

“I’ve talked with parents and students about math problems they’ve been having,” Elwell said. “I’ve also spoken with teachers about education methods. We’ve had a lot of good conversations on these painting ladders.”

For the Devereux family, the three phases of this project have become a family affair. Grandma Helen Corbell was weeding while dad Keith Devereux, a professional painter, took advantage of a donated harness and a lift rented by the school district to reach up high on the main building. Meanwhile, mom Sarah Devereux supervised her sons — Allen Creek Elementary students Parker, Garrett and Mason Devereux — as they painted doors on the east side of the building.

“After you do the work, it looks better,” Mason Devereux said.

“It makes a visual different immediately,” Waldrop agreed.

“It’s good to come together to help the school,” Parker Devereux said. “The better it gets, the more you help out the community.”

“We need to show our children by example how important it is to give back,” DeLap said. “When you give, you get so much more.”

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