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June 4, 2013 > Compassion Weekend cleans up at Mattos Elementary

Compassion Weekend cleans up at Mattos Elementary

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By Lynne Sparling

Mattos Elementary School in Fremont was a hub of activity on the weekend of April 27 - 28 as a group of industrious volunteers were participating in Menlo Park Presbyterian Church's (MPPC) annual "Compassion Week" activity. Mattos was the lucky site selected to receive the "sprucing up." Additional volunteers from Centerville Presbyterian Church, Jubilee Christian Center, Girl Scouts, and local community and business members supported MPPC church efforts.

Stephanie Wesley, a member of MPPC, who lives in Fremont, helped to coordinate the effort at Mattos. She explained, "I had worked on previous projects with my family and church fixing up East Palo Alto schools and others outside of Alameda County. This is the church's first East Bay project."

For eight years, MPPC has held a Compassion Weekend - a time to do good works and make a difference. Wesley said that the church has over 8,000 members, encompassing four campuses: two in Menlo Park, one in Mountain View and another one in San Mateo. Approximately 150 - 300 members live in Fremont. Last year the church completed 40 projects with the participation of 4,000 volunteers.

Working in conjunction with Wesley during the weekend was Lynne Sparling, a Pastor at Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose. Also involved was Centerville Presbyterian Church, which holds an after-school program for kids at Mattos.

MPPC financed the project and even updated and bought new furniture for the Teacher's Lounge. Volunteers painted rooms and bookcases, planted flowers and trees, installed a sprinkler system, and did general classroom organization and clean up. Professional assistance was provided by the following who donated their services: David Fitzgerald, Professional Landscaping - plan and execution; Western Star Nursery for their donation of trees and plants; and Mary Hogle, Bless This Mess for the Copy Room design.

Throughout the weekend, the dedicated volunteers worked in shifts to complete assigned tasks. Girl Scout Troop 30259 in Fremont created a flower garden as part of their "Journey" and "Breathe" service project. The Girl Scouts planted evergreens and perennials with the hope that soon the Mattos students would enjoy the garden and "walk slow, and breathe deep." Their "Journey" activity had been planned separately and coincidentally aligned with the Compassion Weekend at Mattos.

Pastor Sparling of Jubilee Christian Center said, "This annual event was born out of a dream to see the church increasingly engaged in acts of service in our own communities, where we share the love of Jesus in simple, yet powerful ways... and touch the lives of thousands of people in the process."

Mattos' Principal Tammy Eglinton who was observing the work of the volunteers firsthand expressed her gratitude, "It's kind of fabulous getting the community, staff, and volunteers to give their time to us with this makeover, the landscaping and even cleaning of classrooms. The students and staff are already excited and can't wait to see the results of the beautification project."

"Serving is the essence and helping out of love - a love initiative," says Pastor Sparling. "This is an investment in the next generation, which is so critical. We hope that this will also provide an opportunity for developing new relationships between churches, neighbors, and ministries in the area, as well as, a continuing relationship with the administration, teachers, and parents of Mattos Elementary School."

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