Saturday, April 27 is shaping up to be a day of mass volunteerism in Santa Clara County, but organizers of the annual “Beautiful Day” event are in need of many more volunteers, “willing to pick up a shovel and get a little bit dirty” in order to complete the dozen or so beautification projects planned in Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy.
Beautiful Day, started in 2004, is an effort by the local business, faith-based, civic and academic communities to work together at least one day a year to spruce up dozens of properties that serve the public, children, senior citizens and others throughout the county. The idea is to tackle projects that are too big or too numerous for any single individual or even a single organization to complete in a timely, efficient manner.
“It kind of lifts my eyes off my own life, and how busy it gets,” said Marsha Hovey, a Morgan Hill resident and organizer of the Beautiful Day projects for Morgan Hill and San Martin. “Then you look up and see the needs that other people have, and it's just a wonderful feeling to be able to connect with other people. I don’t think we do that enough. It’s a good reminder we’re all here together and we need to help each other.”
This year, Beautiful Day organizers and volunteers in South County have ambitious plans to make improvements at two homes for at-risk youth, a handful of public schools, the Morgan Hill Civic Center, the Gilroy Visitors Center and other public properties, according to the Beautiful Day website.
Last year, Hovey and her church - Morgan Hill Bible Church - participated in Beautiful Day with a cleanup of the grounds of Britton Middle School in Morgan Hill.
If they don’t get enough volunteers for April 27, Beautiful Day and other organizations will plan to complete the projects throughout the year, Hovey said.
The Morgan Hill Civic Center beautification is one of Beautiful Day’s larger projects in South County, Hovey said. Volunteers plan to plant about 400 trees, flowers and shrubs.
To sign up as a volunteer or gain more information about Beautiful Day, visit the website at www.beautifulday.org. Click on the “projects” tab at the top of the page to see a list of all the projects scheduled for April 27 and surrounding days. Volunteers are mostly required to be at least age 14, but some projects are more kid-friendly.
Below is a brief description of local projects.
In Morgan Hill/San Martin:
-Advent Home Morgan Hill: Building a carport for the home for at-risk youth. Volunteers with construction experience are needed.
-Advent Home San Martin: Grounds beautification, planting and trimming.
-El Toro Elementary School: An “extreme makeover” of a teacher’s lounge and patio area. Volunteers will organize shelves, paint, clean and create a “welcoming and inspirational space.”
-Jackson Academy: Turn a little-used area of campus into a quiet, music-themed retreat area for students to read and enjoy nature.
-Morgan Hill Civic Center: Picking up trash, washing windows, hauling and spreading mulch, plant flowers, trees and shrubs. Some skilled labor needed such as trenching and irrigation.
-P.A. Walsh Elementary School: Building six raised planter beds for an outdoor classroom, and cleaning up the playground.
-Carrillo Complex: Cleaning the grounds, including a play area, for the low-income residential complex, plus some light maintenance and painting.
-Demonstration Garden: Preparing the one-acre community garden for spring, with weeding, raking, hoeing and tilling; plus planting sod for an outdoor theater.
-Downtown Gilroy: Cleaning the alleys behind several businesses from the Gilroy Visitor Center to Sixth Street. Tasks include sweeping, trash pickup and weeding.
-Gilroy Visitors Center: Cleaning the grounds, painting the parking lot.
-Gilroy High School Ag Farm: Working with students to get the grounds “spring ready,” including cleaning pens, weeding, raking and mowing.
-Gilroy High School Greenhouse: Working with students to get the greenhouse and surrounding outdoor planting areas “spring ready.”
-Sound walls: Painting the city’s sound walls that lead into Christmas Hill Park and run parallel to the park. Walls will be prepped the week before, and paint and brushes will be supplied.