On April 1st, Comcast partnered with the NCTA, City Year - DC and Retirement Living TV on a CableCares Project at the Truesdell School in Northwest Washington. The project preceded the opening of the Cable Show in Washington, DC. Things went really smoothly. After an opening ceremony hosted by David Cohen and attended by Fred Graffam and Mark Allen of the Beltway Region, Johnathan Rodgers of TV One and Micheal Willner of Insight Communications, we went to work.
We painted murals, painted the walls in the auditorium, created a media center for the middle school students and painted a sign for the back entrance of the school. At the closing ceremony one of the teachers spoke quite eloquently, thanking all of the volunteers. She said that we had no idea how important it was for the children to see people like us, not their parents and not their teachers, doing work in their school that reaffirms how important education is. One of the students, a 12 year old 6th grader, also spoke. He thanked us for the media room, which he said gives the middle school students a place to study that is not in the annex. Currently, the middle school kids have to use the library in the annex, which houses the younger kids. This apparently is not "cool," and makes the older students uncomfortable. The middle students formerly attended a middle school that has now been closed by the School District. They have been moved to an elementary school, and the younger children were moved to an annex. The creation of the middle school media center, according to the teacher, was giving the pre-teens a place that was their own, a place that was age appropriate, and a place that was NOT in the annex.
I saw some of the beautiful, cherubic elementary school children, and understood immediately how hard it must be for the middle schoolers to make use of facilities that were intended for much younger kids. Although middle school is a distant, distant memory for me, I felt empathy for the young sixth grader who seemed to be breathing an audible sound of relief and joy at the prospect of the new media room. The news flash for me is that a few hours of work can make a big difference in the lives of children. There were many Comcast volunteers from Comcast HQ and the Beltway Region and TVOne. We are grateful that they took time out of their busy days to help Comcast power the dreams of the Truesdelll students.