The lawn was covered with broken glass, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, canine feces, and numerous empty dimebags. In one nook of the schoolyard, there were four large, empty bottles of alcohol. Leaves had been left in piles, but never removed or placed in a compost heap.
And that was just one small corner on the Putnam Street side of the Latino Studies Academy at Burns, a k-8 school in Frog Hollow.
On Saturday morning, volunteers were working on every imaginable task, as well as they could with few cleaning supplies beyond what they had brought with them. One classroom had a clogged sink. Other rooms were stark, looking more like places where students would be sent to serve detention than to learn.
The disrepair that this school has fallen into did not occur overnight.
Volunteers from Redeemer Hill Church, Bloomfield Home Depot, and the Hartford Public Schools, along with neighbors and other Hartford residents, were among those schlepping broken desks, cleaning classrooms, redecorating bulletin boards, and raking the large, neglected yard. The overgrown, neglected courtyard adjacent to the teacher’s lounge received some much-needed attention as well.
As dozens of youth volunteers burst out of a classroom and onto the hardtop behind Burns, one boy announced, “we’re gonna go have some fun.” The children and young teens were also taking part in reclaiming/creating a baseball/soccer field.
If you wanted to help but could not make it today, there is a chance that another Make a Difference Day will be scheduled before the end of this school year.