Stories from volunteers

This is an e-mail from one of our community leaders in Wilmington, Mary Gant. It's a simple story, but it embodies some of the community-building ShareFest is all about. If you have any stories, big or small, simple or complex, please comment here or send us an e-mail at and we'll post it for you.

I thought you all might like to hear a story that happend at Banning HS in Wilmington. One of the projects was to mulch the garden and planter areas.

Well, my daughter, who teachers at Banning, stated that a semi-truck delivered a large load of mulch in the middle of the parking lot; the pile was at least 6 feet high.  All day Banning HS students were shoveling mulch. This project was taken on by the Ecology club.  All day they were shoveling and barely making a dent.

My daughter stated that the Ecology Club and football team don't usually associate with each other.  However, as the day progressed and the mulch pile still seemed as large as ever, a football player climbed to the top and started shoveling along side the ecology student; they shook hands, introduced themselves and bagan shoveling until the mountain of mulch was no more. These two students would probably never ever be seen in the same circles, but, for one day, each of them had a common goal, and together they accomplished what seem like an impossible mission.

My daughter said, 'It was a incidible moment, one she will cherish.'

I thought each of would appreciate this story.  THIS IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT.

—Mary Gant

What did you see on Saturday?

A small truckload of the mountain of mulch A small truckload of the mountain of mulch


Harbor Gateway completes a dream


Moevao Liavaa Moevao Liavaa

Moevao Liavaa is the senior lead officer for the Harbor Gateway area. He's seen the racial violence that can tear communities apart, and on Saturday he saw a vacant lot — which he remembers being covered in four-foot shrubs a few years ago —  turned into a community center.

He had something to say about what it looked like now: "I just feel like tearing up and crying, because looking at this come through is just awesome."

On May 2, ShareFest volunteers turned a dirt lot that had been acting as a community center for years into a full-blown facility for kids in Harbor Gateway.

In 2006, 14-year-old Cheryl Green was killed by a gang in Harbor Gateway, and three years later, her name adorned a community center that the everyone from the L.A. mayor to the smallest kids in the neighborhood rallied behind.

On the Friday night before the Workday, Cornerstone Construction Group, Inc. — who worked asked for help from ShareFest on Extreme Makeover Home Edition — transported the a module that the LAPD Harbor Division donated for the center. Through the whole day Saturday, Cornerstone, volunteers from Kings Harbor Church and families from the community put in at least $50,000 worth of labor to turn the module into a working community center in one day. Soon, the Boys and Girls Club will start running programs out of the center.

"It's like a long dream for them (Gateway residents) that's finally come through," Liavaa said

Last year ShareFest helped paint murals for the center and provided what it could to make the space more inviting, but that was nothing compared to the work put in on Saturday and the long years the community had waited for it to happen.

"Because of all the violence that's taken place, hopefully this will draw them closer together and bring them together as a community," he said. "If we can change two, three kids, deter them from joining gangs or doing drugs, to me that's a success. If we can touch just a couple of kids and make them go on and be successful, that's worth all this."


The inside of the Cheryl Green Community Center in Harbor Gateway The inside of the Cheryl Green Community Center in Harbor Gateway

Share stories about your imprint

We want to hear your stories from the Workday. We had at least 8,000 volunteers, but each one had a unique experience.

Whether they were painting murals at schools all over the South Bay or building a community center in Harbor Gateway, we all have stories about what happens when the community comes together.

Leave a comment on this entry or any entry about what happened on May 2 to share the imprint you made with the rest of us.
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