Queens People of the Week: Volunteers Get Their Hands Dirty to Revitalize Astoria School

Our latest Queens People of the Week took time out of their weekend to help revitalize an Astoria school. Leisha Majtan filed this report.

P.S. 85 principal Ann Gordon-Chang says thanks to volunteers, her century-old school feels like new.

“I feel blessed, I really feel that we're the luckiest school in the world to have so many people coming to our school to make it a better place,” said Ann Gordon-Chang, the Principal at P.S. 85 in Astoria.

On a recent weekend, nearly 4,000 volunteers from service organization "New York Cares" made their way into schools across the City.

At P.S. 85, they helped out with everything from painting the fences, to shredding papers, to building a garden for the students.

“We really just came from neighborhoods where we could have used the help, so it comes from the heart when we come,” said Juan Viruet, a New York Cares volunteer.

“We can sit around and complain about everything we don't have but when we come and do things like this, we realize how much we do have. And it brings us all together,” added Jacki Friedmann, another volunteer with New York Cares.

New York Cares volunteers have been donating their time to P.S. 85 for the last 13 years.

Principal Gordon-Chang says without them, the school would not be what it is today.

“They're doing work we could never fund, at all, as a school. We need volunteers, volunteers make a difference in the lives of children,” said Gordon-Chang.

For the volunteers, they say they get just as much out of the experience as they give.

“It's really great to be able to know that the kids are going to come in on Monday and see the work that we've done and just enjoy school that much more,” added another New York Cares volunteer, Carol Issa.

And so for getting their hands dirty for a good cause, the New York Cares volunteers are our Queens People of the Week.

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