Mural Brings New Life to Neighborhood

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With each deliberate stroke of their color-laden paintbrushes, volunteers recently brought new life to a beloved landmark in the Gardner Neighborhood of San Jose, and in the process, brought the possibility of new life to the neighborhood itself.

Up until late April, that landmark was a faded spray paint mural of an Aztec calendar on the back of an old cement handball court in Biebrach Park. A young man from the neighborhood, Antonio Torres, created the mural in 1995 as a testament to the heritage of many of Gardner’s Hispanic residents.

The new Aztec calendar mural is now bursting with color, thanks to the work of more than 25 volunteers who worked through the annual Beautiful Day spring service event, held primarily over the weekend of April 28 and 29. An estimated 3,500 volunteers worked at 26 South Bay sites during the event for the faith-based nonprofit by the same name.

Reviving the mural was a dream of the Gardner Advisory Board for nearly three years, but leaders said a lack of funding kept the project on the back burner. When Beautiful Day organizers showed up with plans to revive the mural using donated materials and labor, it was an answer to prayer, said board president Rudy Martinez. [Read more…]

Beautiful Day Dawning: Group Calls Out to Volunteers for April Service Week

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Beautiful Day, San Jose’s largest annual volunteer service event, is back next month with ambitious plans to serve all 10 districts of the city, plus a nonprofit farm in Sunnyvale, and miles of the area’s freeways.

With the theme of “Serving Our Community is How We Roll”, the organization is putting out a call for thousands of volunteers to take action between April 21 and 29. Most of the projects are taking place the weekend of April 28-29. The Beautiful Day website includes information on each project and an easy online registration form for those interested.

From fixing houses, to rehabilitating school campuses, to cleaning creeks and putting on a carnival and dance for special needs students, there are numerous opportunities to serve. Many of the projects are family friendly.

The faith-based group collaborates with local governments, nonprofits, churches, and businesses to pull off the large number of projects concentrated in one week. Since 2004 the event has grown from smaller clean-up and fix-up projects to the massive operation it is today. Beautiful Day organizers estimate that approximately 2,400 volunteers participated in last spring’s one-week event—and they may double that this April. [Read more…]