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Wells Fargo volunteers at Dr. William L. Cobb Elementary

Volunteers brighten Cobb Elementary schoolyard for students


Two volunteers making over Cobb Elementary's schoolyard An army of red shirts -- with paintbrushes in hand -- descended upon Dr. William L. Cobb Elementary earlier this year. Their mission: make over the schoolyard.

Within hours, games and shapes decorated the schoolyard in vibrant reds, blues, greens, and yellows. Near the entrance, a painted cartoon of the school’s tiger mascot served as a welcome into the yard. Playworks Northern California, a partner of Cobb Elementary, organized the volunteers for the makeover project.

“The school is beautiful,” said Tricia Narine, one of the volunteers.

Playworks, a national nonprofit, creates positive and productive play for students at more than two dozen schools in the San Francisco Unified School District. Playworks coaches work year-round in SFUSD schools teaching students the value of fair play, compassion and respect.

At Cobb Elementary, many of the Playworks volunteers traveled from outside San Francisco for the opportunity. Volunteer Katelyn Ristau said it was her second time volunteering with her company through Playworks. She decided to help again because of the positive impact her volunteering had on the community. It’s also a chance to collaborate with others.

“I think the idea of unstructured play is becoming more and more novel to children,” said Ristau. “If we can encourage that, create an environment that’s safe and creative, and encourages collaboration among students ... I’m all for that.”

For Brenda Clark, it was her first time volunteering at an SFUSD school. She said she jumped at the chance because she likes to paint. She encouraged others to volunteer in schools, too.

“It’s very helpful for the school,” she said. “It’s a good thing to do to help people.”