Volunteer Effort Mobilizes Thousands to Provide Extreme Makeover for Public Schools in Rockford, IL

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Rockford Sharefest brings together more than 6,000 volunteers for Schools Project 2011.

Rockford Sharefest Schools Project

Over the past 4 years, we have performed major makeovers on 8 public schools," said Mark Bankord, President of Rockford Sharefest. "In close partnership with District 205, help and hope is transforming our community.

Rockford Sharefest, an organization that aims to bring help and hope to the Rockford Public School District, brings together more than 6,000 volunteers for Schools Project 2011.

It’s an extreme makeover: school edition. Volunteers, local businesses and trades unions have gathered to paint walls, ceilings & doors; update light fixtures; replace ceiling tiles; install window screens & blinds; install ceiling fans & convenience outlets; replace office furniture; re-carpet floors; build a new office reception area; remodel teacher lounges; and more. They will use 16 miles of blue masking tape and 1,100 gallons of paint!

Schools Project 2011 is being held Friday, June 17th through Saturday, June 25th and is focusing on three projects: the makeover of the West Middle School Auditorium (with the support of a $50,000 grant from the Lowe’s Charitable and Education Foundation), the completion of the makeover of West Middle School (which was begun during Schools Project 2010), and a full makeover of the 100-year-oldWalker Elementary.

The Rockford School District is like many across the country – facing huge budget deficits, forced to close schools and make cuts, and has about $90 million in deferred maintenance. Imagine going to a school building everyday that has seen minimal changes in the last 60 years. A school without air conditioning, where missing screens require the windows to stay closed. A school where the paint is stained and chipped, the carpets are old and grungy, and the lights have dimmed because they’re old and dirty. Does this inspire excellence?

Since 2007, Rockford Sharefest has organized its Schools Project to fix up Rockford public schools. The community has rolled up its sleeves and taken action. More than 12,000 volunteers have logged 100,000 hours to restore, refurbish and repair more than 800,000 square feet of school space.

"This is the 5th annual Rockford Sharefest Schools Project and the momentum and impact on our schools and community continues to grow," said Mark Bankord, President of Rockford Sharefest. "Over the past 4 years, we have performed major makeovers on 8 public schools. In close partnership with District 205, help and hope is transforming our community." Sharefest has grown from 2,200 volunteers and 13 organizations in 2007 to 5,200 volunteers and 103 organizations last year.

“It’s not just about putting fresh paint on walls; it’s about building relationships and creating a feeling of belonging to a greater purpose,” said Creig Day, Director of Rockford Sharefest. “The schools we have touched have reported better test scores, fewer incidents of vandalism and increased school spirit.”

The stories of Rockford Sharefest Schools Project success are told through videos and photos online. Go to http://vimeo.com/rkfdsharefest or visit http://www.rockfordsharefest.com.

For more information about Rockford Sharefest, call Creig Day at 815-543-9041 or email him at Creig.day(at)rockfordsharefest(dot)com.

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Creig Day