Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 2:18 am | Mostly Cloudy 59º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Serve Santa Maria Volunteers Go Back to School With Community Cleanup Projects

Hundreds join in for 11th community service day to make improvements at schools, parks and even homes

Volunteers with the 11th Serve Santa Maria work day get started redistributing piles of bark along the playground of Miller School. Click to view larger
Volunteers with the 11th Serve Santa Maria work day get started redistributing piles of bark along the playground of Miller School. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Volunteers fanned out across the city Saturday for Serve Santa Maria, spreading bark, painting and doing other chores at schools, parks and homes.

At Miller Elementary School, a faded map of the United States on the ground received fresh paint while other workers distributed bark on the playground.

“It’s a great example of schools partnering with community groups for a project that benefits not just our kids but our entire school community, which extends beyond the borders of our school and goes into our neighborhood,” Miller School Principal James Bissin said.

The big project involved putting bark where sand once was strewn alongside the area housing play structures.

Sand gets tracked all over, including into classrooms where it damages carpet. It also gets into students’ eyes and can end up on nearby asphalt, making it slippery.

Miller School staff wanted to eliminate the remaining sand on the playground, and the upcoming Serve Santa Maria work day provided the impetus.

In anticipation of the volunteer force’s arrival, district grounds crews removed the sand in recent days and piled the replacement bark nearby.

Miller School’s playground map of the United States was in a much better state after Serve Santa Maria volunteers freshened up the paint. Click to view larger
Miller School’s playground map of the United States was in a much better state after Serve Santa Maria volunteers freshened up the paint. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Serve Santa Maria founder, Pastor Carl Nielsen of Bethel Lutheran Church, had asked Bissin what projects needed to be done at the campus. 

The church is adjacent to the campus and Nielsen and Bissin are neighbors, too.

“It all came together in record time,” Bissin told Noozhawk. “I can’t believe how fast they have done this because we had two huge piles of bark.”

Saturday school students on recess also joined in, moving handfuls of bark and using tools to spread it out.

“Everybody got to help out,” Bissin added.

Saturday morning, hundreds of volunteers first gathered at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center for their assignments and prayer before spreading out across the city.

The volunteer cleanup day involving multiple churches, groups and individuals marked its 11th edition. No. 12 is planned for summer.

A large group at Miller School came from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Orcutt.

“It’s just a wonderful thing to be involved in when we can beautify the city and give a few hours of service,” Pastor Greg Kintzi said. “That’s a wonderful feeling.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Serve Santa Maria volunteers spread bark along the playground at Miller School. Click to view larger
Serve Santa Maria volunteers spread bark along the playground at Miller School. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
With the day’s work done, Serve Santa Maria volunteers have some fun while posing for a group photo at Miller School. Click to view larger
With the day’s work done, Serve Santa Maria volunteers have some fun while posing for a group photo at Miller School. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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