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Colorful Makeover Brings New Life and Good Health to School

Watts’ Weigand Avenue Elementary School Unveils Campus Mural

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“‘Stop-Breathe-Choose’ is about always making the right choice,” said fifth grader Yoselin as she admired her school’s vibrant, new mural depicting students holding signs of these core messages from Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Educational Theatre’s new conflict management program.

“[The steps] can help us be successful in life if we remember to always stop, breathe, and make the right choice,” she added.

Yoselin and dozens of Weigand Avenue Elementary School students and school officials recently came together to unveil their new mural designed to celebrate a culture of positivity at Weigand, marking the culmination of a five-month campus beautification project in partnership with Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Educational Theatre and the Watts Counseling and Learning Center.

“The work with Weigand was not only a beautification project, but also a school wellness project,” said Gerry Farrell, director, Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre. “Weigand students received our complete Conflict Management and Healthy Eating Active Living programs, consisting of two plays, three student workshops, and two adult workshops focusing on stress management and healthy eating, active living strategies, giving students education and resources that may not be available otherwise.”

In addition to the mural, the school beautification work included a fresh coat of bright paint on each building, new designs painted on all 11 school plant holders, and the installation of new plants for the students and faculty to enjoy. The volunteers also planted California native plants that are drought resistant and low maintenance, conserve water, provide habitat for wildlife, and attract pollenating insects, thanks to support from the Theodore Payne Foundation and the Home Depot. As part of the unveiling event, the Theodore Payne Foundation presented an assembly for all students, teaching them about their school’s new plants and how to care for them.

“The students are excited and I’m just thrilled to see how bright and beautiful our new campus looks,” says first grade teacher Sheena Scott. “It really makes a difference to step outside and be greeted by so much color… it brings new life to our school.”

Since the National Day of Service in January, Kaiser Permanente volunteers have spent hours clearing weeds, removing dirt, cleaning and prepping planters on the school campus, and painting the planters and mural.

“I’m hopeful that all of this work will have a positive impact on our students,” said Mr. Hernandez, who teaches first and second grade combined. “I think it’ll teach them about caring for their environment and communities, and having the messages where they can see them daily will help to cement the concept of conflict management.”

Special guests including Joseph Prendez, principal, Weigand Avenue Elementary School, Anthony Aguilar, director, Weigand Avenue Elementary School, Michelle Chambers, field representative for Assemblymember Mike Gipson and Kaiser Permanente leaders and staff joined the students for the official mural unveiling. Following guests’ remarks, the mural was unveiled with the release of live butterflies into the air.

To learn more about Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre, visit: http://etsoutherncalifornia.kaiserpermanente.org

To learn more about Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center, visit: http://community.kp.org/watts