School gets facelift, library makeover thanks to military veterans

‘Mission Continues’ joins forces with Bush Literacy Foundation to freshen up Kelso ES

Dozens of U.S. military veterans from the Houston area reported for duty at Kelso Elementary School on the morning of Jan. 24. Their mission? To makeover the library, spruce up exterior surfaces, and create a campus garden.

The former Army and Marine servicemen and women came to the school as a part of the Mission Continues organization, which works in partnership with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation to create more-pleasant and welcoming learning environments for children.

Exterior renovations included power washing, refreshing painted walls, painting murals, and re-doing the basketball courts. The volunteers also built an outdoor classroom and garden boxes in line with a new curriculum program designed to teach students how to garden.

“It’s just exciting,” said Kelso Elementary Principal Connie Smith. “Kelso is an aged building, so they’re really giving some elbow grease to get us up and running. They walked around and saw the heart of our kids, they saw the heart of our teachers, and that’s why they chose Kelso…because of our spirit.”

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The library makeover consisted of a new coat of paint and furniture donated by Walmart. New books were donated to restock the library, and each of Kelso’s students also received a brand new book to take home. The library renovation will help Kelso promote the district’s Literacy by 3 initiative, which aims to have every child reading and writing on grade level by the third grade.