Thousands beautify Jackson for "Great American Cleanup" - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Thousands beautify Jackson for "Great American Cleanup"

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Thanks to volunteers, children at Jackson's Baker Elementary will have a sparkling playground when they return to classes Monday. Equipment that used to look drab and dull is now shiny, with bright red and blue paint, thanks to about 40 helping hands.

"We don't want to leave any corners uncovered, want to make sure we do a good job," says volunteer Earnest Bozeman.

The group is from nearby New Horizon Church.

"Our whole focus is, a man who's friendly must first show himself friendly. We're trying to be friendly to the community, show people we love Christ," says volunteer Joe Hall.

A series of portable classrooms at Chastain Middle School are also going under the brush. Children and adults from Christ United Methodist Church are helping here.

For some, it's a challenge.

"I've only painted my house deck and my friend's room, but that's all," says young Blake Newell as he uses a paint roller on a portable building. 

Christ United Methodist has volunteers scattered throughout the city for "Shine 2010", an effort spearheaded by churches, to spruce up Jackson schools based on need. It's held in conjunction with the Great American Cleanup.

"It's a total of 200 (volunteers) for the church at various locations around the town," says David Upshaw, one of the church's associate pastors.  "This is part of our semi annual mission blitz, part of a larger effort by churches around the town."

The inside and outside of Brown Elementary is getting new life. About 800 members of Pinelake Baptist Church went to work at Brown and a number of other locations.  They cleaned classrooms, trimmed overgrown trees, and they even plugged up a sinkhole in the school's courtyard area.

"We broke up some old timbers, filled it in, put some dirt we had dug up from somewhere else, so now it's safe for the kids to come out here and play," says Pinelake Church member Bonnie Calandra.

"Shine Again 2010" is a continuation of efforts to beautify schools that began in 2009.

"A lot of people took the time from their busy schedule to come out and do God's work. That's what it's all about," Bonnie says.

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