Hundreds of people in Las Cruces donated their time on Saturday, May 4, volunteering at Booker T. Washington Elementary for the annual Comcast Cares Day. Parents, students, staff and alumni started bright and early, rolling up their sleeves to help beautify the school.

With garden tools and buckets of paint, the massive clean-up crew worked side-by-side to give the Booker T. Washington campus a facelift. Painted handprints of all of the volunteers and alumni now welcome visitors, signifying unity and highlighting the volunteers’ pride for their school. Students of all ages also participated in a river rock-painting project. For some, the event served as a great opportunity to fulfill community service hours.

Volunteers were treated to IHOP for breakfast and Texas Roadhouse for lunch out of gratitude for their support. Each volunteer also received a free Comcast Cares T-shirt.

Comcast has helped beautify the campuses of Las Cruces Public Schools for the past 12 years, though the telecommunications company has organized the nationwide day of volunteerism for 18 years. Brigitte Zigelhofer, the community outreach liaison for Las Cruces Public Schools, said this year more than 600 people volunteered at Booker T. Washington.

The event began at 8:30 a.m. with remarks from officials representing LCPS, the board of education, the LCPS Foundation and Comcast.

“We’re so appreciative of Comcast and all of the wonderful volunteers who come out to support this event every year,” said Greg Ewing, superintendent of Las Cruces Public Schools. “When students see people in the community working together, they witness firsthand that anything is possible. I am so proud of our volunteers. Their efforts made such a wonderful difference at Booker T. Washington, and will support the education of our students for years to come.”

To date, more than 1 million Comcast Cares Day volunteers have contributed more than 6 million service hours to improve local communities through more than 10,000 projects.

“As we celebrate our 18th annual Comcast Cares Day, we are delighted to partner with more than a dozen community partners across New Mexico to make change happen,” said Chris Dunkeson, Comcast Area Vice President in New Mexico and Arizona. “It is incredible to see how we can drive meaningful change by bringing together our employees, their friends and families, and our community partners, both on this day and throughout the year. We are thankful for the participants and volunteers who continue to work to make a positive difference.”

Comcast team members volunteered statewide at project sites including Cancer Support of Deming & Luna County in Deming, the Food Depot in Santa Fe, Promiseland Child Development Center in Farmington, the Portales city pool, the Silver City Mimbres Region Arts Council, and at schools in Gallup, Las Cruces and Raton.

The schools the annual event has previously benefitted include: Zia Middle School, Doña Ana Elementary, the former Mesilla Valley Training Center (now La Academia Dolores Huerta), MacArthur Elementary, East Picacho Elementary, Alameda Elementary, Mesilla Park Elementary, Mesilla Elementary, Jornada Elementary, and Tombaugh Elementary and Fairacres Elementary.

— Samantha Lewis, LCPS Public Relations Coordinator, 575-527-5946, slewis@lcps.net