Mt. Hope STEAM, volunteers to paint hallways

Posted at 11:54 AM, Nov 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-24 11:54:37-05

Students and teachers are equipped with the latest technology at Mt. Hope STEAM Magnet School, but the hallways haven’t been painted for years.

Volunteers will come together Dec. 5 and 6 to help the school’s hallways match the 21st century learning opportunities at the two-year-old magnet school in the Lansing School District. Organizers expect between 50 and 100 people to prep, prime, and paint the hallways, including a mural designed by local artist Tara George. Engaged in recruiting painters and other helping hands are Sycamore Creek Church, the Sycamore Park Neighborhood Association, and Mt. Hope STEAM.

“Since Sycamore Creek Church moved into the neighborhood last December, we've sought to be the kind of church that adds value to the assets that already exist in our community,” said SCC Pastor Tom Arthur. “We want to build on the strengths that are already here. Mt. Hope is doing good work educating children in Lansing, and we want to help them continue with that legacy.”

The project’s genesis came about last summer during a building tour Sycamore Creek Church initiated with its neighbor. Mt. Hope STEAM Principal Elizabeth Jones described the passion of the teachers and her staff to educate with new technology. But walking through the hallways, she pointed out chipping paint and an underwhelming entryway that didn’t give an impression 21st century learning was happening within the walls of the older facility.

On a larger scale, though, the painting project is a reflection of the partnerships SCC, Sycamore Creek Neighborhood Association, and Mt. Hope STEAM have made with those who live, learn, work, and worship around their footprints. These relationships show support for the Lansing School District as it brings a $120 million bond proposal before voters in May 2016. Though volunteers will be “just painting” a hallway, the action is indicative of deeper, personal investments.

“Community partnerships are vital to the helping schools achieve their mission,” Jones


“Mt. Hope STEAM is very fortunate to have so many caring community members interested helping our children succeed in school and life. Most of our partners do not have children who attend our school, but they view Mt. Hope STEAM as part of their community.”

Jones said the support -- whether pruning shrubs, painting, or collecting winter gear -- improves the school environment and give students a sense of pride and belonging. In addition, library books were purchased through a joint community/ school spaghetti supper, thanks to the Sycamore Park Neighborhood Association. New partnerships with Sycamore Creek Church provide opportunities for mentoring, tutoring, photography, and storytelling experiences, too.

“By tapping into the rich community resources and professional expertise of the broader community, we are able to provide learning experiences for our students that might not otherwise be available,” Jones said.

“A church isn't a building. It's a community that exists to serve and bless others,” Arthur said. “We at SCC talk about serving our community and world by being curious, creative and compassionate. We seek creative ways to show compassion to anyone we come across wherever we meet them. It’s an obvious starting point to begin with the people and organizations right around us, like Mt. Hope School.”


? Mt. Hope STEAM School, 1215 E. Mt. Hope Ave., is a fourth- through sixth-grade magnet school whose curriculum focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. See its school page? for more.

? Sycamore Park Neighborhood Association ?has been a longtime partner of the school in its

neighborhood. When volunteers give to the school -- either in time or goods -- they invest in the learning community right where they live.

? Sycamore Creek Church? meets at 9:30 and 11 a.m. at the Sunday venue at 1919 S.

Pennsylvania Ave. SCC also offers “Church in a Diner” at Jackie’s Diner, 3812 S. MLK Blvd., at 7 pm on Mondays. The 15-year-old church is compelled by being a community that is curious, creative, and compassionate. SCC is led by Pastor Tom Arthur.