Thursday, September 25, 2008

Church Chips in for Estancia

Members canceled their weekend services to repaint blacktop lines, plant shrubs and help out with other tasks.

By Alan Blank/ OC Register

More than a thousand volunteers from The Crossing church in Costa Mesa got together to paint, landscape and repair various parts of Estancia High School in a massive community partnership that Principal Phil D’Agostino says is the way of the future.

With school districts strapped for cash, many important improvement projects get put on the back burner, and D’Agostino thinks that establishing relationships between neighborhood organizations and schools is a good way to get things done.

“This is going to be the new model: reaching out to groups that value public education because they went to Estancia, or their kids went to Estancia or they know about Estancia and they want to lend a helping hand,” D’Agostino said.

The Crossing canceled its weekend services so that members could come out and help Sunday. Volunteers painted storage bins and bleachers red, planted shrubs in campus planters and redid the lines on the blacktop along with other projects.

Pastor Ian Stevenson, who organized the event, said that coming to an agreement with the district took some work because there were liability and labor issues that needed to be addressed, but eventually everyone signed off and the result was overwhelmingly positive.

“We picked Estancia for a number of reasons. It seemed like the most underserved school in the community. Parent involvement is not as high as it is in other schools. It just seemed like a school that could use it,” Stevenson said.