IMG_9835On Thursday, April 7, the playground at Santa Maria’s Tunnell Elementary School catered to a slightly older demographic. Over 100 community members, mostly Zodiac Aerospace employees, volunteered their time to help revitalize the Tunnell Elementary School campus. The project was in thanks to a Give and Grow grant provided by local business Zodiac Aerospace.

“We’re doing a ton of stuff today,” Give and Grow project lead Beverly Leroy said excitedly. “We’ll be painting six different murals, building benches and picnic tables, doing some gardening and landscaping, among other things.”

The excitement for the day’s work was shared by the other 100+ volunteers, who in total donated over 1,000 labor hours to makeover Tunnell Elementary.

“I just love to volunteer for the community,” said Zodiac Employee Laurie Sahagun. “To see all the kids walking around and the staff – the teachers, the principal – it’s great to see everyone’s energy today. I can tell they are so excited to have us here, and we are excited to be here.”

The school staff was also thrilled to have been chosen for the project.

“I had seen the wonderful things [Zodiac Aerospace] had done for other schools and I wanted that for Tunnell students,” said Tunnell Elementary School Principal Linda Muranaka. “We applied 3 times and I was so elated that we had finally been chosen!”

The importance of the work they were doing was not lost on the volunteers, who were passionate about providing a fun, vibrant atmosphere for the students at Tunnell Elementary.

IMG_9848“The kids are our future and we need to educate them and have them have a safe comfortable place to come to,” explained Give and Grow project lead Kiel Carreau. “We’re really proud when we put murals and color in the school. It shows in the kids faces how happy they are to have that added warmth to their environment, and really enjoy coming to school.”

“Being here and seeing the joy in the kids faces, its honestly just the most rewarding feeling you can ever have,” Leroy said. “It doesn’t feel like work – it’s something that is so wonderful to be involved in.”

The students and staff alike were thrilled with the outcome of the work done by Give and Grow.
“We can’t thank Zodiac Aerospace enough for the generosity and hard work at making Tunnell School look amazing!” Muranaka said. “It was a once in a lifetime experience for the students to see the community give to the school. The looks on the student’s faces were priceless.”

Zodiac Aerospace has provided other Give & Grow grants to local schools over the past years. To learn more about the company and their community volunteer efforts, visit