Valley Elementary School partners with Surgance on school transformation project

Published 1:46 pm Monday, June 14, 2010

Valley Elementary School is getting a facelift on the inside and out thanks to the efforts of local volunteers from the nonprofit organization Surgance.

Projects planned for the school include painting 18 classrooms and a portion of the cafeteria, landscaping an outdoor courtyard area, cleaning the school, and helping teachers move into new classrooms. Volunteers are scheduled to work on these projects Saturdays during the month of June (June 5, 12, 19 and 26) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I am so excited and grateful for the support this organization is giving Valley Elementary,” said Principal Debbie Scarbrough. “I am thrilled about the improvements that are planned because it will mean so much to our students and teachers. It has been very exciting to see the community coming together to make this a reality.”

Surgance is a national nonprofit organization that helps to promote community transformation projects by bringing uncommon partners together to work on common goals. Their strategy is to mobilize leaders in the community from local churches, businesses and organizations to work together to accomplish the mission of transforming lives and communities. The organization has coordinated similar efforts in more than 40 schools in 15 cities across the country, painting more than 2.5 million square feet of wall space. The organization’s President and CEO, Brian Audia, has just been recognized as one of the Top 40 Alumni from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Valley Elementary currently has 15 new classrooms under construction as part of the Shelby County Board of Education’s Five Year Capital Improvement Plan. The addition of these classrooms, which are slated to be complete by the start of the school year in August, will allow the Board of Education to remove several portable classrooms currently being used.

The Surgance project was planned with the idea of giving classrooms in the existing building a fresh new coat of paint to match the new classrooms under construction. Volunteers have already completed painting a section of the school’s cafeteria. The project also includes landscaping a courtyard area in the back of the school to make it more accessible for special needs children.

Surgance volunteers also plan to help teachers who are moving into the new wing and within the building due to a complete reorganization of the classrooms. Volunteers have already assisted teachers with moving classrooms last week at the close of the school year and will continue to assist once the new classroom addition is completed and ready to be occupied.

Volunteers of all ages are still needed to assist with this endeavor. For safety reasons, younger children will not be permitted to help with the painting or landscaping projects. They will be assigned duties such as helping to prep rooms for painting and cleaning areas of the school. Those interested can contact Project Leader Mark Warner at or at 492-5904 or simply come to the school on any Saturday during the month of June. For more information on Surgance visit their website at