On Tuesday September 26, Rams staff, cheerleaders and wide receiver Paul McRoberts spent their monthly staff day of service beautifying the anterior of Warren Lane Academy of the Arts with murals and landscape. Also assisting in the school enhancement efforts were parents of Warren Lane students, local Inglewood Police officers and members of Sharefest, a local non-profit that advises youth and fosters volunteerism in communities through service projects in specific points of influence.
For residents in the community, the adornment of Warren Lane touches more than just the students. To attend a school that students and parents are proud of will build and preserve the community's relationship with the school and the education it provides. As a turnaround art school with its new aesthetic additions, Warren Lane Academy of the Arts hopes to be an inviting educational presence in the Inglewood community for years to come.
"For me, this is a day of pride for our students, our parents and the entire community at large from our city council to our district officials. It means us coming together," said Executive Director of School and Community Relations Dr. Jacqueline Sanderlin. "The Los Angeles Rams are here for more than just a stadium. We see that they're here to make a difference, a positive impact on our schools. What I've asked the Rams to help us do is to help bring identity to our schools. The music, theatre and arts that are happening inside of the buildings here, are also now visible outside to the community. So as they're driving by, they know what goes beyond these four walls and they also know what is being offered to their children, whom we serve every single day."
Longtime residents of the community see the school beautification project as unique and first-of-its-kind within Inglewood. Senior Community Affairs Liason for the Inglewood Police Department, Officer Cinder Eller-Kimbell, claimed that in all her years of service in the city, she had yet to see an initiative such as the school beautification projects come to the surrounding Inglewood area until the Rams arrived in Los Angeles.
"I'm a product of the city of Inglewood, I grew up here. This is really big for the community," said Officer Eller-Kimbell. "For the Rams organization to take time and come here into the city to help beautify these schools is amazing. It's dear to my heart actually. This is a long time coming. We've never had this before. This is the first time anybody's come to help beautify the school or the school district so we really appreciate them coming out."
Atop a ladder wearing his jersey with a brush in hand, Rams Wide Receiver Paul McRoberts participated in what used to be a favorite activity at his own childhood Community Center, painting. As he colored murals depicting a student graduation cap and gown and a theatrical dancer, he knew he was providing some lasting illustrations that may inspire and galvanize future students and families of Warren Lane.
"I think I did an ok job painting today. It's been awhile, I used to do it back in my community a little bit myself. We had a Community Center that I grew up in as a child and I loved it. So I just wanted to take the time on this Tuesday to come down and show some love and support and really help out…Also giving others a chance to hope. It's amazing. I would do it every day if I really could. It's something I thrive for and something that I love to do."
Inglewood City Councilman, George Dotson, also paid a visit to Warren Lane to see the cohesive school enhancement project. Joining the City Council four years ago after being a resident of Inglewood for over 44 years, Dotson's tenure has helped transition the city to financial stability and national prominence as the future home of two NFL franchises. In his experience as a council member, he has found that every group works better as a team, and the Rams engagement in the community is welcomed service that is beginning to influence Inglewood's residents with their own local efforts.
"I'm loving it. You know, things like this bring a whole community together," said Councilman Dotson. "Just look at these people. We have neighbors coming out to help at school, that maybe have never done that. But because of the Rams organization and them coming and giving up themselves, then the community says 'Hey, I can do that too.' So they come out and do it and that's what we want."
The Warren Lane beautification project was part of the Rams' monthly Day of Service initiative. Each month, the Rams front office staff takes time out of the office to volunteer with local non-profits. During the team's first year home in Los Angeles, Rams employees provided more than 2,000 hours of community service and impacted 10 local non-profits and 19 schools. Since January of 2017, the team has volunteered with six local non-profits and 25 schools through the Staff Day of Service program.
For more information regarding the Rams Community Outreach initiatives, please visit the team's Community page here.
If you would to know more about Sharefest, please visit their website at http://www.sharefestinc.org/.
The Rams assisted the Inglewood Unified School District with some beautification projects including painting, planting and general clean-up efforts.