Volunteers beautify South Bay school in honor of MLK

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Rather than a day off, some Bay Area employers encouraged workers to take Monday as a day of service. And one middle school in San Jose was the beneficiary of their volunteerism.

With Mathson Middle School closed for the holiday, the campus was taken over by Kaiser Permanente.

Wielding a pitchfork is a bit of a change for Doctor Todd Dray dray, who normally wields a scalpel.

"We have physicians, we have nurses, medical assistants, we have administrators," Santa Clara Kaiser Physician in Chief Susan Smarr said. "This is a huge part of Dr. King's legacy. It's about getting out and making a day on instead of a day off."

The staff from the San Jose and Santa Clara Medical Centers pulled weeds, raked leaves and even they snapped on some latex gloves and gave the campus a fresh coat of paint.

"I think when the kids come to school on Tuesday morning, they are going to be really jazzed by how their school looks," Smarr added.

Beyond being a chance for grown-ups to give back, this was also a teachable moment for students. No school means there's no reason they can't pick up a paint brush and lend a hand.

Family, neighbors and even a whole basketball team joined in.

"Inside them is like a fire saying, 'Oh, I didn't realize how good this feels, how great it is for my community,'" said Shay Franco-Clausen, Kaiser public affairs intern.

The principal knows. He's seen the smiles on his students' faces.

"They are so excited to see that people care about them, that they are here because of them," said Oscar Lemon, the school's principal.

Teaching children the joy of giving is something these nurses and doctors think that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would approve of.

"You know he was about inclusiveness. So bringing us all together, you can see it's super diverse. We have everyone here together working to do something good for the neighborhood," said Shay Franco-Clausen, Kaiser public affairs intern. "So, I think that (Martin Luther King) would be looking down on us, you know smiling and grateful for all the work we give back to the community."
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