By AMY ROSEN via the Sentinel
|A volunteer from the Edison Home Depot digs the beds for the new landscaping project at the Lindeneau Elementary School as parent Abha Devarajan (l-r) and student volunteers Aishwarya Devarajan and Gabrial Yabra pitch in. BALA DEVARAJAN|
“Since the Lindeneau school extension was built, we didn’t have any landscaping in front of the school and it’s been an open piece of grassy land in the front,” parent Sally Yabra said.
When Lindeneau Principal Rosemary Schutz received an estimate of $5,000 to landscape the area, Yabra told her that the parents could make it happen.
Yabra kept her word, with the help of Mike Keppe, store manager of the Edison Home Depot on Route 1, and PTO board treasurer David Stryker.
“When I reached out to Mr. Keppe at the Home Depot, he said he was very willing to help — and he kept his word,” Yabra said.
She drew up some ideas and brought them to Keppe.
“She cares about the community deeply, and is also a business person in town,” Keppe said of Yabra. “She has a coffee shop, and as part of giving back to our community, she recognizes the importance of trying to beautify the community and trying to bring something positive wherever she can.”
Yabra and Schutz reached out to community volunteers to help with the planting, and it all came together on Aug. 22.
“We brought seven people, and she brought some people,” Keppe said. “We brought about 20 shrubs, some mulch and landscaping fabric. About $600 worth of product in all was donated.”
Yabra said the volunteers didn’t have to put in a dime.
“The Home Depot is covering it all,” she said. “They even provided lunch for all.”
Schutz expressed excitement about the new landscaping.
“This has been a longstanding dream that has finally come to fruition,” she said. “The newest addition to the building was added many years ago, and this just completes the look and makes it a true part of the school, which was built in 1966.”
Schutz expressed gratitude to Yabra, Keppe and all those involved in the project.
“Their collaboration, time and effort have made our school look beautiful,” she said. “The most impressive thing that took place besides the donations from Home Depot was the time that their workers and parents from our PTO volunteered in the pouring rain to complete the project.”
The feeling is mutual on Yabra’s part, she said.
“Mrs. Schutz has done such amazing things for us, I could just go on and on,” Yabra said.
“The aesthetics of the school are a big part of the welcoming and homey feeling that we want to relay to our students,” Schutz added. “Our students become very protective of all of the improvements over the years, which helps them to be respectful of property outside of school. What an excellent lesson in citizenship and respect.”
(link to Sentinel article)