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iProspect Volunteer Day with GoogleServe

By Oliver Eldredge | Training Specialist

The official color of the Golden Gate Bridge is International Orange. Incidentally, the benches at the Bayview Opera house in San Francisco are also International Orange. I know this because I was among the ten iProspectors who teamed up with the same number of folks from Google to help paint them during GoogleServe 2012. GoogleServe is an organized effort to encourage Google and their partners to volunteer their time. This paired nicely with our own Care initiative, which encourages all iProspectors to volunteer.

One of the things I enjoy about working at iProspect is the number of volunteer opportunities that we have throughout the year. In the four years that I’ve worked here, I’ve participated in the clean up of parks, schools, and even helped out at a local soup kitchen. Before we left, I thought that an opera house would be a very strange place for a bunch of volunteers to end up, but the Bayview Opera house isn’t what you might expect given its grandiose title.

According to the Bayview Opera House, their mission is, “to serve as the focal point for art and culture in the Bayview Hunters Point Community by providing accessible, diverse, and high – quality arts education, cultural programs and community events in a safe environment. The Bayview Opera House (BVOH) provides many different resources and activities to the people in the community including an array of different classes: painting, yoga, music, and many more.

One of the first things you notice about the BVOH is that it stands out from everything else around the area. Bayview is a low income neighborhood in San Francisco, where many young people have a limited number of resources. The several blocks surrounding the opera house are not an easy environment for children to grow up in, but the opera house makes the neighborhood a diamond in the rough.

Our task was to clean the benches by the amphitheater and add some local flavor by painting them International Orange to match the Golden Gate Bridge. The benches had just been donated from the local transportation department and were in need of some attention. This task had to be completed outside, which happened to fall on a rare sunny day in San Francisco—the weather felt like instant karma.

After a few hours of work, we managed to paint all of the benches. Most of us also managed to get paint on our clothes and shoes. Coming back to the office after lunch was fun not only because we felt great about volunteering, but also because it’s a lot of fun to walk around the office in messy clothes from painting all morning. If we ever get a chance to go back and help out at the Bayview Opera House, I’ll be the first in line.


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