Van Nuys : Volunteers to Give School a Fresh Look

Painting murals, planting flowers, and clearing litter aren’t exactly glamorous tasks, but Erwin Street Elementary School parents, students, faculty and community members will shun glitz Saturday as they tidy the school’s exterior.

Principal Marla Mondheim has dubbed the beautification event the “roll up your sleeves and pitch in to help” day.

The school is often marred by graffiti and is surrounded by dying, patchy grass, which will be reseeded. “It sticks out like a sore thumb” among well-kept nearby homes, Mondheim said.

To curb graffiti, volunteers will paint pre-sketched murals reflecting themes of manners and multiculturalism for the school, which is about 54% Latino, 10% black and about 34% white and Armenian, Mondheim said.


“I think the school is the focal point of the neighborhood,” the principal said. “We want to be good neighbors.”

More than sprucing up the neighborhood, the cleanup will boost morale among the school’s nearly 1,000 students, Mondheim hopes.

“It’s hard to be really proud of your environment when it’s not clean, when it’s not fresh-looking,” Mondheim said. “And sometimes, this is the nicest place our students will be all day.”

Donated time and supplies are the lifeblood of the project, she said. If the project is successful, the school hopes to have a larger cleanup in the spring. Ground-cover plants, potting soil, bright-colored exterior paint, tools, rags and cleaning supplies are all needed for the effort.

The Erwin Beautification Day will take place between 8 a.m. and noon Saturday at the school, 13400 Erwin St., Van Nuys.

To volunteer, call (818) 988-6292.