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Toys for Joy Workday 2008
By Nadine Saubers - November 25, 2008

Two dozen volunteers painted their hearts out Saturday, November 22, at King/Chavez School on 31st Street in San Diego. The workday was phase one of a project that's part of the 12th Annual Toys for Joy campaign, in which the low-income school is getting fresh paint, bright wall murals, and landscaping.

Volunteers including men, women, and kids, came from the Rock Security Ministry, Men of the Rock, and participants from last spring's Miles Ahead mission trip to Jamaica . In addition, local contractor Steve Snead came with a couple of his workers.

Led by Michael Heikkinen of, a Christian arts ministry, the mural crew applied base paint in preparation for at least four murals. Dave Bilodeau, who was director of community projects at schools during the Jamaica trip, also directed. Then they traced designs contributed by King/Chavez School children.

Third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students submitted drawings to create the themes of the murals. According to Heikkinen, the kids all have consistent style that�s going to be incorporated into the art. Images will include cultural heroes like Caesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King. The murals will include some "high end art," but in all the kids will relate to the style and recognize their contributions, said Heikkinen. He hopes some of the kids will find images created from their drawings and think, Hey that�s mine!

Francisco Contreras, a teacher at King/Chavez, talked about how excited and blessed the parents and teachers are with the generosity of the Rock Church volunteers. �The kids know the benefits and how this is affecting their lives. The kids know!� said Contreras.

The Second Phase

The second phase is scheduled for December 6. That's when the murals will be painted. �Since they're already be traced out the volunteers will come at it like a coloring book,� Heikkinen said.

Through Toys for Joy, the Rock Church, along with other individuals, businesses, churches, and organizations, are reaching out to impact the lives of underprivileged children at this special time of year.

For more information about the Foster Youth Mentor Ministry, click here »