1,000 volunteers expected to paint murals at Kensington High on MLK holiday
City Year, a service organization that puts young people into public schools to support teaching staff, has spent the last few months preparing Kensington High School for 100 new murals, to be painted by 1,000 volunteers.
The small to medium-sized murals of inspirational figures and quotations – including Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani advocate for girls’ education, will adorn the hallways, stairwells, cafeteria, and gymnasium.
“Right outside the gym, we have quotes by [Olympic gymnast] Simone Biles and Jesse Owens,” said Jheri Grossman, the City Year civic engagement manager. “We have specific inspirations for girls’ self-esteem in the bathrooms. We have ‘Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds’ in the cafeteria.”
Grossman and her team from City Year (a program of AmeriCorps) use video projectors to enlarge and display images and text on the walls, then they carefully sketch the mural outlines in pencil. They are preparing for a wave of 1,000 volunteers on Monday – Martin Luther King’s Birthday – who will spend the day painting in the colors.
The mural painting at Kensington High is expected to be Philadelphia’s second-busiest volunteer event on Monday. The busiest will be Girard College, the hub for Global Citizen, the organization that has ties to the creation of the MLK Day of Service concept. About 5,000 people are expected there.