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St. Juliana's freshens up


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St. Juliana Parish on the Northwest Side will start the new school year with a fresh coat of paint and bright and clean fixtures thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers.

Parishioner and school parent Tim O’Donnell organized a series of work days for volunteers to do everything from painting in the cafeteria and hallways to cleaning the fixtures in the school, as well getting a crew to paint railings and trim outside.

O’Donnell, who runs his own Internet advertising business, used to be in construction. He got the idea, he said, when he attended his son’s preschool graduation reception in the school cafeteria last spring and saw that it could use a little sprucing up.

O’Donnell enlisted the help of parishioners through the bulletin and also got volunteers from the Mother’s Club to make individiual calls to school families. The result was a turnout of about 50 people on Aug. 4, the first day of the effort. Those who couldn’t were invited for a return engagement Aug. 11, to do some of the outdoor painting. In addition to the railings, work also included the wooden sawhorses that the school uses to block traffic on side streets while students are walking to school.

O’Donnell said he hopes the volunteer work days will become an annual event, and that other parishes will replicate the idea.