SMU Volunteers Lend a (Painting) Hand | Collaborative For Children

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SMU Volunteers Lend a (Painting) Hand

A dozen students from Southern Methodist University in Dallas spent their fall break with Collaborative for Children October 10 - 12 painting classrooms at Allstars Daycare and Preschool, one of the College Bound from Birth centers in Houston’s Aldine neighborhood. The students were part of SMU’s “Alternative Break” program, through which students participate in student-led service trips of various focuses.

Site visit co-leaders La’Keisha Adams ’16 and Biko McMillan ’17 selected Collaborative for Children as the agency for their Alternative Break project out of their desire to contribute to improvements in education, and coordinated their efforts through Collaborative for Children’s newly developed HELP Houston volunteer program. La’Keisha, an education major, acknowledged that Houston and Dallas are similar in terms of the education needs that exist in both cities. “I’m particularly interested in what the children are being taught to prepare them for elementary school, and what the environments are that prepare them for success,” she said.

The physical environment at Allstars Daycare and Preschool underwent a transformation over the weekend, changing the colors of the walls in its classroom spaces from bright orange, green and purple to a neutral dark brown. La’Keisha explained, “I really like that we’re changing the brightness of the colors. Being an education major, I realize how distracting bright colors can be for younger kids, and how much better it is to have neutral colors in the space.”

Her co-leader Biko agreed. “I like creating this environment that will allow kids to focus more, helping to foster a nurturing environment that allows them to increase their chances of success,” Biko said. Improving physical spaces to better support the learning experiences that take place inside of them is just one piece of Collaborative for Children’s quality improvement efforts, and is much appreciated by the directors and teachers impacted.

Allstars director Tonya Hick was thrilled with the result of the effort. “They did an amazing job,” she said. “The teachers were very happy when they came in on Monday morning. They all said the colors make the center feel calmer. We appreciate the volunteers’ hard work!”