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Day of Service Organized by TUGG Brings Volunteers to Brighten & Enhance Playground at Argenziano School in Somerville

Zach Brass of Somerville (foreground right) one of almost two dozen volunteers who painted the playground at the Argenziano School in Somerville Oct. 10th; Tim Wright (orange shirt) and Miha Mikek (background) discuss their contribution to the school
Zach Brass of Somerville (foreground right) one of almost two dozen volunteers who painted the playground at the Argenziano School in Somerville Oct. 10th; Tim Wright (orange shirt) and Miha Mikek (background) discuss their contribution to the school

Youngsters attending Argenziano School in Somerville will be enjoying new recess games after volunteers from various local technology companies gathered in the playground Thursday, Oct. 10, with cans of bright paint and rollers to lay down new hopscotch and four-square courts, and to refresh the scuffed and faded image of the map of the United States.

“I’ve been painting the world,” said Tim Wright, of Lexington, who works at Grandbanks Capital in Wellesley one of the companies represented at the volunteer day. He and Dekyi Lhaze, a Somerville resident who works for Celtra, a software company based in Cambridge, painted a map of the world close to the entrance to the school’s office.

“See how I lined up the United Kingdom to be at the center of the world?” Wright, a London native, pointed to the colorful map. “And Dekyi painted her native Tibet.”

Representatives from diverse technology enterprises gathered to work at Argenziano School under the direction of Boston Cares and Technology Underwriting Greater Good (TUGG). It was just one of almost 30 sites where volunteers, organized by TUGG, spent the day “giving back” to their communities.

Kelly Dwyer, a program manager for volunteers at Boston Cares, said her group links organizations looking to be of service with non-profits that need assistance.

“We have a huge network of non-profits and we match volunteers with the programs that need help,” Dwyer said.

TUGG is a resource for information technology companies and start-ups; finding worthy causes within the community, like refreshing the playground at Argenziano School, and offering those as volunteer opportunities to its clients. Several local companies were represented at the school; it’s a mix and match type of approach allowing the volunteers to socialize and network locally.

The new playing courts add an extra level of activities to the games and equipment already provided youngsters at Argenziano, said James Elliott, school vice principal, In addition to a climbing gym for the younger students, kids have access to a huge field, a variety of balls, jump ropes and other items designed to keep them active during  recess.

“The new game courts also tie in with the Argenziano philosophy of good health; providing youngsters with a healthy diet and opportunities to exercise, Elliott said, adding Argenziano has been named a “Gold School” in the US Department of Agriculture Healthier US School Challenge.

Thursday, October 10 was a service day organized by TUGG; hundreds of volunteers spent the day working at non-profits that ranged from entities like the Charles River Conservancy and Mass Audubon Boston Nature Center in Mattapan, to organizations like Science Club for Girls, Cradles to Crayons, a donation and support center for low-income and homeless youth and More Than Words, an organization that empowers youngsters aging out of the state foster care system by teaching them to be business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Wright is a big supporter of TUGG and volunteering in the community.

“This way of organizing volunteer efforts is great for this constituency; many of these young people are volunteering for the first time ever, it’s their first charitable experience,” Wright said.

Zach Brass, of Somerville, who works with Ted Nichols of Cambridge at Abine, an online privacy company based in Boston, were planting bulbs in the school’s garden.

“This is something to do with our co-workers that’s not work and not going out to a bar for drinks,” Brass said. “We get to do something creative, too: paint, garden.”

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