By Rita Saikali Carter, Design Leader

Follow my Instagram for a recap of HMC’s team participating in the 22nd annual Make a Difference Day, the nation’s largest day of service, with an estimated three-million volunteers working on projects across the country. “Make a Difference Day is about giving back to your community and serving others,” said seven-time Grammy winner Usher, who promotes services through his New Look Foundation. “One voice joined by another is the start of a movement.” Make a Difference Day was created by USA Weekend Magazine and is held in partnership with the Points of Light and Hands On Network. The Inland Empire United Way organized an extreme makeover of Garey High School and recruited teams of volunteers from companies such as Target, ADP, JC Penny, and Nestle. There were also many Garey HS students on hand and a large group of students from Cal Poly Pomona. It was amazing to see the school completely transformed in 8 hours from a dreary, blank campus into a vibrant learning environment with colorful murals, new gardens, fresh paint, and a host of other campus improvements. My favorite mural made up of huge stylized letters read, “Don’t leave a legacy, live one!”

The wall before the HMC team started painting the mural.
HMC Architects’ volunteers put their artistic skills to great use at Garey High School Make a Difference Day. (Left: Armando Gonzalez. Right: Beryl Lopez)

Greeted by Garey HS’s marching band over lunch.

HMC Architects’ team and the finished Garey HS mural. Great Make a Difference Day effort, thanks to Inland Empire United Way, Hands On Network, and Points of Light.

We had a chance to speak to Principal Wilkins who is a graduate of Garey HS. He said that when he returned to campus he was dismayed to see that after 20 years nothing had changed. “The Make a Difference Day school beautification event celebrates the school’s 50th anniversary and transformed the campus into an inspiring learning environment.” The event left Principal Wilkins very emotional and not able to find the words to express his gratitude to all the community volunteers.

Thanks to all our HMC volunteers!

Melinda Pendleton, her son John Stiles, and granddaughter Desiree Camarena
Armando Gonzalez
Beryl Lopez and fiance Calvin Mensonides
Lise Carter
Rita Saikali Carter and husband Jontel Carter
Adrienne Luce
2 Garey HS students: Adrian and Stephanie