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…]

Another ‘Beautiful’ Weekend in the South Bay Thanks to Volunteers

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After a weekend of painting, sawing, hammering, raking, weeding, cleaning, and much, much more, the South Bay is shining just a little brighter this week, thanks to the work of an estimated 3,500 volunteers working through the nonprofit group, Beautiful Day.

Many volunteers worked multiple shifts from Friday to Saturday, helping to fill up to 4,600 positions at 26 sites from Milpitas to Morgan Hill, with most of the work centered in San Jose. Last year the event attracted approximately 2,400 volunteers.

Beautiful Day is a faith-based nonprofit that came out of Westgate Church in San Jose in 2004. The group partners with the City of San Jose, secular nonprofits, businesses and other churches to organize a massive regional service event each spring, as well as a smaller event in the fall, along with other projects.

This spring’s event actually got started a week earlier, when volunteers helped prepare some sites for the larger number of volunteers to come. One shift of volunteers worked Wednesday at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale.

From work that required a lot of elbow grease, to more personal jobs working with senior citizens, disabled youth and homeless people, Beautiful Day volunteers of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs, gave of themselves all week. [Read more…]