SOUTH LOS ANGELES ( — Volunteers across the nation Monday were taking part in the MLK Jr. Day of Service.

More than 1,000 community and corporate volunteers revitalized the campus of Hillcrest Drive Elementary School, 4041 Hillcrest Dr., as they used the holiday as a “Day On, Not a Day Off”.

Murals around campus that were dated and peeling were repaired or replaced, buildings were repainted and the landscape was rehabilitated.  The main focus of the day was to build an enlarged school garden.

“Research has shown that children learn better in an environment in which they feel proud and comfortable,” LA Works officials said in a statement. “School gardens and gardening have an impact on science, math, social studies and language and visual arts.”

Forty percent or more of the students at Hillcrest come from families that are low-income.

Employees from Target, Kaiser Permanente, Macy’s, and Honda all took part in the volunteer work, along with students from UCLA, USC, and Loyola Marymount.

“I’m so blessed to be at USC and to have all the opportunities that I have,” volunteer Kristyn Ikeda said. “I (felt) like I should give some of that back.”


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