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New York staff get creative to revitalise local school

New York, 17 Oct 2015

A team of 23 Macquarie staff and interns from New York rolled up their sleeves to revitalise the entrance of The New American Academy in Brooklyn recently, as part of the annual New York Cares Fall Day and a kick-off event for Macquarie's annual Foundation Week initiative.  

‘Team Macquarie’ transformed the school’s entrance, located in the Crown Heights neighbourhood, with three brightly coloured murals painted with educational and welcoming images, including a world map and a kangaroo, as a homage to Macquarie’s Australian origins. 

Jessica Saratovsky, Principal of The New American Academy, whose students are primarily from low-income households, was impressed with the volunteer artists' abilities to transform the buildings and common areas: “The students, staff and families love their new and welcoming school entrance. Everyone was smiling and talking about it the following Monday morning and it has changed the school's atmosphere, making it a more enjoyable and inviting place to learn and grow.”  

Interns who participated in the volunteering day were from the Double Discovery Center at Columbia College, which works with low-income youth in the borough of Manhattan. Each of the interns will be the first in their families to attend college. 

The interns had recently worked with Macquarie teams as part of the LEADS New York Program, which supports participants to improve their leadership skills, self-awareness, critical thinking and civic engagement. 

A participant and one of the event organisers, Tim Dobney, enjoyed working with his colleagues on a different style of project, for a good cause: "The atmosphere on the day was fantastic! We gave our creativity free reign and were able to create an impressive wall of colour. It’s great to be able to give back and to brighten up the school for students and staff. We walked away feeling like we had achieved something great for a local community."  

Beyond revitalising The New American Academy, Macquarie staff in New York also raised over $3,700 with Macquarie Group Foundation matching, to support academic activities and healthy eating programs for other under resourced public schools.

Image caption: Staff and interns in New York painted a series of murals at a public school in Brooklyn as part of Macquarie’s 2015 Foundation Week.