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Springtime spruce-up

Lockheed Federal Credit Union workers give up their day jobs to paint at Bret Harte Elementary during civic project.

March 29, 2008|By Chris Wiebe

School was out for spring break at Bret Harte Elementary on Thursday, but a group of civic-minded volunteers were hard at work on school grounds.

More than 40 Lockheed Federal Credit Union employees put down their pens, pushed away from their keyboards and picked up paint brushes, setting their sights on four fading portable classroom units that were left out of the school’s modernization efforts in 1999. “We’ve always had these eyesore bungalows that no one has really done anything about,” Principal Diane Berger said. “So this is great.”

The project comes as a part of the Partner to Paint program and the credit union’s Volunteer-Time-Off program, which enables employees to volunteer for community-service projects during paid company time, said Alethia Calagias, community relations specialist for the credit union.

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Employees decide whether to volunteer and how much time they want to devote to a project, Calagias said.

“It’s great because we’ve had a lot of participation,” she said.

Senior Vice President of Marketing Andrea Carpenter is a veteran participant of the program.

“It’s really fantastic; we all feel good about helping no matter whose time it’s on,” she said. “It’s a way to have fun and be good neighbors and help the community one building at a time.”

The effort also involved the contributions of local businesses T&T Improvements Painting Company, whose owner Tim Tilton will be assisting with the project, and Dunn-Edwards Paints, which donated 75 gallons of paint to do the job.

Last year Lockheed Federal employees painted the home of a credit union member, but wanted to do something different this year, Calagias said.

Then credit union officials contacted the Burbank Unified School District’s facilities office, where staff members identified the fourth- and fifth-grade portable classrooms at Bret Harte as a location with painting needs, she said.

“We’re just glad to be here and glad to be a help,” Calagias said.

Last year credit union employees also started the Community Stars foundation, which provides financial support to select local charities, Calagias said. Employees can opt to devote a portion of their monthly payroll check to the nonprofit organizations, which the company matches, she said.

This year Community Stars is contributing to the Burbank Temporary Aid Center and three other organizations in Sherman Oaks, North Hills and Santa Clarita.

As the classrooms at Bret Harte started to shine with fresh paint on Thursday, Burbank officials lauded Lockheed’s continuing community service contributions to Burbank.

“They’re a valued member of our business community,” said Assistant City Manager Mike Flad, a Bret Harte alumnus. “And they represent the types of things that we appreciate in businesses in Burbank: giving of themselves and their time and money to make the not only the schools, but all of Burbank the great community that it is.”


 CHRIS WIEBE covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at chris.wiebe@latimes.com.

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