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SAG starts program to clean up schools

Initiative comes on heels of Bookpals

A coalition of organizations and volunteers led by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation has launched a program to help Los Angeles schools become safer, cleaner places for students.

The initiative comes on the heels on SAG’s Bookpals program, which arranges for professional actors to read books to students in L.A., New York, Denver, Chicago and other cities.

“With so many performers in our schools each week, the Screen Actors Guild receives a lot of feedback from these volunteers about the schools, mostly the substandard physical conditions in which students, teachers and administrators have to struggle every schoolday,” SAG president Richard Masur said Wednesday at the new program’s launch at Breed Elementary School in L.A.

Breed and Sepulveda Middle School will be the first institutions to benefit from the program, under which volunteers, builders, carpenters and others will paint walls, pull weeds and otherwise spruce up the kids’ academic environments.

The L.A. Federation of Labor, the L.A./Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council, the Southern California District Council of Carpenters, United Teachers of Los Angeles and United Way are among the other orgs involved.

L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, who also attended the unveiling, said city officials were “finally starting to realize that our schools need assistance” and that there are 100,000 high-tech jobs in L.A. that cannot be filled locally because of a dearth of educated and trained workers.

Both Masur and SAG’s national exec director, Ken Orsatti, appealed for volunteers, and said anyone interested may call (323) 549-6711.

“We must all join together to provide safe, decent places for our children to learn,” Orsatti said.

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