The walls at Marshall Middle School made a quick transition Friday from a dingy yellow to fresh lavender with the help of young professionals from local corporations.
The project was organized by the Greater Columbus Georgia Young Professionals, which committed a “Day of Action” to seven programs in the community. The group, which is part of the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce, also performed service projects at Columbus Botanical Gardens, Habitat for Humanity, Literacy Alliance, PAWS Humane and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Dancing with the Stars. About 200 volunteers participated.
Principal Michael Forte said the volunteer painters demonstrated the Marshall motto, which is: “Integrity First, Service before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.”
“We’re overwhelmed and just so appreciative that they were willing to donate their time,” he said, surrounded by professionals dressed in lime green T-shirts. The group included volunteers from companies such as TSYS and Aflac. Students from the Captain’s Career Course at Fort Benning were also on board.
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Amy Bryan, the chamber’s senior vice president of talent retention and community development, said it was the second “Day of Action” organized by the group. Last year, the volunteers donated 600 volunteer hours to the community in one day and received a Community Service Award from President Barack Obama. On Friday, the goal was 800 hours.
In addition to painting the walls, some volunteers also talked to students about their careers and planning for the future.
Renarda Faulk, 32, is an instruction designer at TSYS. She and one of her colleague’s, Ricky Scott, Jr., a 34-year-old accountant, spoke to students in an eighth-grade math class. They encouraged the young scholars to stick with the subject because it would pay off some day.
“I just want to make a difference around the community and influence young people to aspire higher,” Faulk said of her volunteer service. “I try to encourage them to listen to their teachers and stay in school because I know it will benefit them professionally.”