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Compass Students Brighten Up Overnight Shelter

A group of students from the Compass school has brought a warm glow to the Greater Falls Warming Shelter by painting colorful murals on several of its walls.

Led by Humanities teachers Julia Taylor and Lauren Beigel, as well as guest artist Aaron von Seggern, a group of thirteen students first visited the shelter to assess the needs and then traveled to several museums to develop ideas about public art and artistic quality.

They then designed what became the murals that are now brightening up the shelter's interior. After initial sketch work and discussion, the students divided up and tackled different areas of the shelter, including a bathroom, a kitchen wall, and a family sleeping area.

Working during the school's Community Service Winter Term, the students covered the walls of the shelter with vibrant murals of birch trees, forest scenes, and a night sky with fresh, clean paint in comforting colors.

The work pushed the students to consider ideas about social justice and community that they had studied in school and apply them in a real world setting, according to Taylor. At the same time, the work brought them into contact with adults committed to public service.

The students met with shelter coordinator Sam Neill, who told them the shelter has served more than two dozen different people since it opened December 23 by offering a warm, safe place for people to spend the night. The shelter is open every day from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and will remain open through the winter months at least until March 31. He said volunteers are especially needed for the 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. shift, and 64 volunteers have already received training. The next training is Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the shelter at 24 Canal Street.

For details contact Neill at bfwarmingshelter@yahoo.com or 463-3355.

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