Malibu Middle School students give back

Beautifications include homes, schools, church buildings, public spaces, medical clinics, and more

Two Malibu Sharks Surf teammates and brothers are usually catching the early morning waves of the weekend, but recently the two put down their boards and picked up paintbrushes for a beautification project in the city of Compton.

On Saturday, Jan. 29, Malibu Middle School students London (11) and Remington (13) Runyan volunteered for The Compton Initiative, a non-profit organization which is committed to restoring the city by painting homes, schools, and churches.  

“We thought it would be a great way for us to give back and do something good for someone else,” the mother of the two boys, Jenni Runyan, said. 

Around 25 to 30 volunteers of all ages join together to work on projects which include painting, debris removal, yard work, and graffiti removal at homes, schools, churches, and public spaces, at no cost to property owners.

“To date, we’ve beautified over 765 homes, 465 buildings at 43 schools, 47 church buildings, 67 public spaces, 2 medical clinics, and 215 murals,” according to their website. “With each beautification event, grateful residents marvel as their homes go from dull to vibrant in just a few hours, and astonished students return to freshly painted schools and a new sense of pride.”

Malibu Sharks Surf Team Head Coach John Cross said he hopes to organize volunteer opportunities for the students to give back to other communities.

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“I’m so impressed and so proud to have your family [Runyan’s] as part of the Malibu Sharks Surf Team,” Cross said. 

Malibu Sharks Surf Team Communications Volunteer Arpie Petkus said they had a vision to encourage more community service, but due to COVID, it has put many restrictions on opportunities to do large group gatherings.

“Coach John and I have always wanted the surf team to give back, and although this effort was completely the Runyan family’s effort, I am very proud that they are a part of the Malibu Sharks family and appreciate the way they represented Malibu and the Malibu Sharks Surf Team,” Petkus said.

“Rem and London are great surfers and teammates; they always come with an awesome attitude to surf practice and contests,” Petkus said. “They are great team members, not just because they are great surfers, but they are super supportive and enthusiastic; they are really good kids.”

Around 25 to 30 volunteers of all ages join together to work on projects which include painting, debris removal, yard work, and graffiti removal at homes, schools, churches, and public spaces, at no cost to property owners. Contributed photo.
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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