Volunteering for those affected by school fire

January 17, 2011 4:11:56 PM PST
This day of service has been a day of transition for students from a burned down charter school in West Philadelphia.

About 150 men, women and even children spent their day getting classrooms ready for students from the Global Leadership Academy Charter School. Doing this on the King holiday seemed an obvious call to action for all of the volunteers.

"I couldn't think of a better way to honor the memory of Dr. King," volunteer Antoinette Styer said.

"We've been painting and it feels good to help and give back to the community," volunteer Jordan Mitchell said.

Eight days ago, the Global Leadership Academy Charter School in the city's Parkside section went up in flames and everything in it was destroyed.

The temporary classroom space for the 400 students plus office space is being provided inside the old Turner School at 59th and Baltimore. One floor is already home to the Kipp Prep Charter School.

"We can only imagine what they're going through, we know it's rough and we want to be helpful however we can," Marc Mannella of Kipp Philadelphia said.

Doctor Naomi Johnson Booker is CEO of Global Leadership Academy. She says since the fire people from near and far have been generous with money, school supplies, and now their time

"I am overwhelmed, but overwhelmed happily because so many people have joined," Dr. Booker said.

The classrooms have been unused for over a year and, while not in bad shape, they are in need of a face lift which is what they got today, right down to colorful bulletin boards.

"It's important because bulletin boards make the room bright and cheery, it makes it a good learning environment for the kids especially after what happened," volunteer Becky Freund said.

"This is a day of service, so I figured instead of sleeping and relaxing just come out and help out the school," volunteer Russell Moody said.

The Global Leadership Academy Charter School will open a new facility in September.