SAN GABRIEL, CA – Equipped with paintbrushes and garden trowels, more than 100 Wilson Elementary students, staff and parents freshened the campus during the school’s first Beautification Day on Jan. 19.

Part of Wilson Elementary’s ongoing community service initiative, the Beautification Day was inspired by the annual MLK Jr. Day of Service, which empowers individuals to volunteer in their communities and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I’m excited to paint because I think it will give the playground a lot more color and bring more fun to the campus,” fifth-grader Emma Lee said. “I think we will all just feel even happier to be here.”

Volunteers planted succulents and lemon trees in miniature gardens across the playground and painted railings, tables and walls red to brighten the campus and display school spirit.

Community service is a valued tradition at Wilson Elementary, and Principal Ivonne Contreras said that teachers, students, staff and parents have been excited about finding ways to give back to the community.

“It has been exciting to see our students embrace these opportunities to help others in need,” Contreras said. “These projects give them tangible examples of what it means to be responsible citizens and to learn how to make the world around them a better place.”

Since October, Wilson students and staff have identified a new cause per month to advocate for, each one holding a special meaning to someone on campus.

Students gathered coin donations as part of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, raising $600 toward providing children with immunizations, health care, nutrition, emergency relief and more.

During the holiday season, Wilson families, staff and students partnered with Friends of Foster Children to gather children’s books, baby products and toiletries for local foster families.

The Beautification Day was the first Wilson-focused community service event held this year. It was organized by Parent Teacher Association members and staff who wanted to beautify the campus for current and future students.

Student volunteers left their own lasting impression on the playground, adding painted handprints on a wall painted with the school’s Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports values: “Safe, respectful, responsible.”

Contreras said the school hopes to expand its community service projects into a formalized program in the future.

“As part of their education in San Gabriel Unified, students are encouraged to become active informed citizens who positively shape their community,” SGUSD Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “Thank you to Wilson Elementary teachers, staff, parents and volunteers for helping instill these values in our students at an early age.”


SANGAB_SERVICE1: Wilson Elementary students plant succulents in the school’s garden areas during a Beautification Day on Jan. 19.

SANGAB_SERVICE2: Wilson Elementary students place painted handprints on the playground on Jan. 19 during the school’s first Beautification Day.