Program helps organize effort to spruce up grounds
by: Jim Clark Children in the Lynch Wood Elementary School Sun program take part in relay races in the school’s newly painted multi-purpose room. The facility was recently renovated through a cooperative effort of several community groups.

The gym and grounds at Lynch Wood Elementary School, 3615 S.E. 174th Ave., look a lot better thanks to the hard work of church and community members as well as school staff and supporters.

Earlier this year, Americorps Community Involvement Specialist Erin Osborne noticed the gym at Lynch Wood was looking 'a bit drab.' Osborne works through the Metropolitan Family Service Building Engagement in Schools Together, or BEST, program, which places workers in Portland and Gresham area schools to address needs among children and families.

Osborne proposed to Lynch Wood Principal Andrea Sande that they pull together various folks to help repaint the gym and spruce up school grounds.

Osborne solicited donations of labor and supplies from several individuals and businesses, including School Secretary Cheryl Brachter's husband Mike Bratcher, project manager at W. B. Painting in Gresham.

Bratcher was able to get ceiling paint donated and also garnered discounted wall paint and supplies. He and other employees spent more than 30 hours painting the ceiling as well as the upper and lower part of the walls.

Miller Paint Company in Gresham also gave the school paint at a discounted price, and Home Depot in southeast Portland donated $450 worth of cove base and cove base adhesive, according to the Centennial School District. Home Depot employees James Hannon and Dennis Hannon each helped install the cove base.

'I'm sure we saved several thousand dollars just because of the professional labor we got donated,' Osborne said.

Centennial School District maintenance employees Joe Soulagnet, Bud Taylor and Bill Barnett, helped with cove base removal, cove base touch-up and the procuring of a scissor lift to help Bratcher and his crew do their job.

On Sept. 24, Lynch Wood students' families, and as well as staff members worked alongside volunteers from Gresham United Methodist Church to paint the gym as well as spruce up the playground, spreading bark chips on its surface. Meanwhile, other volunteers did landscape work or cleaned up garbage.

Osborne said the church's members have often helped out at the school over the years.

'They come out and support us when we need it,' she said.

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