By Nathalie Lancaster, New Member Mentor
Four hours, twenty-two women and a whole lot of imagination. That’s what it took to transform Jacox Elementary School’s Teacher’s Lounge on the crisp morning of November 2nd and get a resounding “Wow!” from Jacox Principal Dr. Lucy Litchmore.
Each year, New Members (NM) are asked to participate in one of two ‘Done in a Day’ projects. This fall, the NM class partnered with the Community Council and continued Educate to Elevate’s impact at Jacox Elementary—this time with efforts turned toward giving back to Jacox’s educators and transforming their Teacher’s Lounge.
By way of Community Council VP Lauren Roberts, the NMs knew that a fresh coat of paint on the walls was a paramount request; however, the rest of the makeover was entirely left to the NMs’ imaginations. After a few meetings and emails, NMs devised a divide-and-conquer strategy, identifying three mini-projects to be accomplished within the time and budget constraints: painting under Audra Sebastian and Amanda Green’s leadership; decorating led by Jackie Spainhour and Breanna Neighbors; and a bookshelf project led by Tracey Byrum and Sarah Balschmiter.
Not only did everyone work strategically to make the most of the project’s four hour timeframe, they also got a lot of work done in the project lead up. This included sourcing donated bookshelves, gift cards and painting supply pickup coordination.
On the day of the project, an all-hands-on-deck energy pulsed through the group as NMs painted all four interior walls, moved furniture in and out of the room, climbed on ladders, assembled furniture, made shopping trips for décor items to spruce up tables in the lounge and finally, cleaned up to ensure everything in the lounge was left in a tidy and orderly fashion.
The end-result was freshly painted walls and cabinet; a new bookshelf stocked with a variety of donated books and magazines to be enjoyed in the lounge or at home; a phone charging station capable of charging several phones and devices; various new table centerpieces and décor items; as well as a coffee station stocked with a new coffee machine and coffee supplies.
All of this was made possible by these New Members’ commitment, creativity and ability to collaborate as one cohesive team and garnered immense gratitude from Dr. Litchmore. By working together, the NMs built community within themselves and channeled the strength of those newly forged ties to impact the teachers and administrators at Jacox Elementary.