School, community volunteers spruce up Jackson Elementary exteriorAbout 50 volunteers, including 10 college and high school football players, gave Jackson Elementary a landscaping facelift May 10.
Volunteers consisted of school parents, staff and kids of staff; Cub Scout Pack 6, which includes boys from both Jackson and Howbert; seven Air Force and three Coronado footballers, who were assigned the hole-digging and other heavy work; and representatives of two local outdoor businesses - Always Green and RBJ Landscaping, both of which had obtained donated plantings to further enhance their contributions.
Miller credited Debbie Hankins, a long-time Jackson secretary, for organizing the landscaping project. The principal said the initial spark was District 11 announcing some weeks ago that it had a limited amount of money available for landscaping and inviting schools to write grant requests.
In the eventual request rankings, Jackson only came in 10th out of 20, “but Debbie did not take well to 'we'll see' for an answer,” Miller chuckled.
Hankins set out to make it a volunteer project. Part of this involved talking to the landscaping-business owners and working out pro bono plans with them. Energized staff and parents helped by signing up and also referring others. One teacher, for example, “had the email of someone who coordinates AFA volunteers, and she passed that along to me,” Hankins said. “That lady put out the 'opportunity' and these guys answered. Thank goodness they were strong guys, because we had some heavy-duty work for them to do!”
For the expenses that were necessary, the school was able to set aside some discretionary funds while its parent-teacher organization put in money it had fundraised, Miller said.
Her hope is that a similar project can be organized next year, possibly to reseed the grass in front and pretty up the school along its south side (facing onto Darby Street).
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