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Community groups join forces to give Norfolk elementary school a makeover

Three community organizations and more than 100 volunteers are coming together to give Jacox Elementary School in Norfolk a three-day makeover.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — On Saturday evening, Lucy Litchmore, the principal of Jacox Elementary School, couldn’t believe her eyes.

As she walked through the halls admiring new colorful murals being painted by volunteers, her jaw dropped.

“Excited is not even the word,” said Dr. Litchmore.

“It’s surreal. I keep telling people to pinch me to make sure this is happening, because these children are going to be blown away.”

Local organizations and volunteers came together this weekend to give the school a new look.

The three-day makeover started Friday and will be completed on Sunday evening. On Saturday, more than 100 people in the community volunteered their time to the project from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach, tHRive Young Professionals, and the Urban Renewal League of Norfolk made it all happen for the students.

For volunteer Jeff Floyd, it’s a way to show the students that people care.

“We need to come together as a community and just love on the school,” said Floyd.

Floyd said the school deserved this makeover. When he first arrived, he noticed it was in dire need of some TLC.

“They needed this bad. [The] playground out here was a blank slate of concrete. Now its vibrant, colorful, and it looks like a place a child should be playing,” said Floyd.

He helped built and paint picnic tables for the school playground. And on Saturday afternoon, he stood under the blazing sun and painted a colorful U.S. map and a game of Four Square on the school’s basketball court.

Jillian Goodwin, Chair of Community Events for the Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach said this is a way of giving the students something to look forward to.

“We want to get them excited about learning, being at school and if they’re in a place that they’re proud of they love their murals, games, then ultimately they’ll have a better educational experience,” said Goodwin.

Altogether, more than 300 people were a part of the school’s makeover, which included landscaping work around campus, colorful murals that will be hung around the school, a butterfly garden, revamping the school library, and new games on the playground. The organizations plan to have a big reveal of the makeover for students on August 31st, before school begins. They said their efforts won’t end there, they plan on continuing their involvement with the school by mentoring and tutoring students throughout the year.

Project Makeover Hampton Roads plans to refurbish one elementary school each year.