Nov. 13, 2004 Intermittent rain showers didn't deter about 60 people representing various organizations from gathering Saturday to spruce up Julius E. Sprauve School for a United Way Day of Caring.
Although United Way has held similar events on St. Thomas, this is the first time United Way has sponsored this event on St. John.
"It brings the community as a whole to a particular project," United Way president Juanita Young said, as she sanded a picket fence slated to surround a garden in front of the school.
She said that the volunteers included many people from St. Thomas, an important aspect of the Day of Caring because St. Thomas and St. John are one district.
St. John was also well represented. Caneel Bay Resort sent a small team, slews of plants for the garden and a backhoe.
"I told them to bring equipment, but I thought they'd bring a couple of shovels," St. John Community Foundation director Carole DeSenne, who helped coordinate the event, said.
In addition to working on the garden, volunteers painted the concrete fence that surrounds the adjacent Winston Wells Ballfield, worked on the dugout at the field and set the stage for a playground at the Clarice Thomas Annex, located across the street from the ballfield. Money still needs to be raised for the playground equipment at the Annex.
Sprauve School principal Mario Francis said the school is in the midst of returning to its former academic excellence. Improving the grounds was part of that process.
He outlined a program in which ninth graders would assume responsibility for putting up and taking down the American and Virgin Islands flags each day. The flags are located in the garden.
Lucinda Parsons, a third-grade teacher at Sprauve School, said she was on hand because she worked at the school and she was a proud alumnus.
"I thought it was very important to come out," she said.
Catholic Charities director Mic Aiken was busy inspecting the picket fences after the sanding project was done. There was at least one "oops" where the original sander left a rough edge, but Aiken was quick to pick up a piece of sandpaper to smooth out the problem.
Out along the field, Shonda Alfred was one of a cadre of volunteers spreading turquoise paint on the ballfield wall.
"I love to paint," she said.
Alfred, a University of the Virgin Islands senior, said she came as part of the school's Golden Key Honor Society.
"We get to help out and give back to the community," she said.
Clarence Hansby, who heads the Civil Air Patrol on St. Thomas, said he and his volunteer crew came because the Civil Air Patrol is a United Way agency.
"I love to see all these young people involved. It makes it better," he said. Volunteers hailed from the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, St. John Community Foundation, Civil Air Patrol, Down Street People, Lutheran Social Services, Golden Key, Antilles School, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, the Education Department, Sprauve School and the United Way board of directors.
Additionally, nearly 30 businesses and professional people donated goods and services for the Day of Caring.
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