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Paint the town 'green'

Students and seniors participate in Full Cycle recycling program

Posted: May 17, 2009 9:20 p.m.
Updated: May 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Artists apply their magic to recycling containers at the Full Cycle USA painting event. Counterclockwise from left, Dr. Gene Dorio, Mary Lou Carraher, Brittany Mitre, Bailey Koester and Rachel Stimac.

 
Flying fish, prancing ponies, impish cartoon characters - these were among the many images painted onto cardboard receptacles during a recent event at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.

With more than 40 Rembrandts of various ages and talents taking part, the creative Dunn Edwards assembly was for a good reason: To transform Advantage Disposal containers into artsy depositories, which are now part of the Full Cycle USA Recycling Program.

Instituted as a grassroots environment-embracing and fund-raising effort between Canyon High School and the Senior Center, the program was conceived by local Realtor Tracy Hauser.

Half of the proceeds each entity takes in through recycling will be donated to the other for helping programs and individuals in need.

At the painting soiree, former Canyon High students Brittney Mitre, Bailey Koester and Rachel Stimac spent several hours adorning the receptacles, all the while chatting and having fun alongside seniors.

Aside from the enjoyment, however, the young ladies acknowledged that critical work was taking place.

Being part of the project made her feel like she's doing something special, Mitre said.

"I feel this gives us power in the fight against global warming," she said. "I watched a program about that recently and it was a real eye-opener."

Koester said she's very proud of her mother, Tracey Hauser for "pulling this all together."

"She really has her heart in this," the beaming daughter stated.

Painting alongside the young women provided nostalgia for noted longtime SCV artist Mary Lou Carraher, who for years taught painting at the Senior Center.

"I remember painting signs at Canyon (High) for a fundraising project long ago. It was to raise money for putting lights in the stadium," said Carraher, a grandmother of three and great-grandmother of nine.

When asked what she thought of Full Cycle's recycling and environment-saving endeavors, Carraher emitted a thoughtful sigh and replied: "I am aware of the problems in the world, especially right here in our own backyard, and I think these efforts are wonderful."

With a grin the veteran artist added, "And this is really fun!"

Rachel Stimac echoed Carraher's sentiments.

"It's really cool that we can work together with seniors and help the environment," she said.

Also wielding brushes and enthusiastic spirit that day, Canyon Assistant Principal Pete Getz and his daughter joined in on the purposeful merriment.

"This is an awesome opportunity for students and seniors to work together for a common goal, and we are very happy to be a part of it," Getz said.

The idea for Full Cycle came to Hauser through what she calls "divine inspiration."

"I am the humble servant to a great idea," she said. "Full Cycle USA, is about empowering two untapped resources in our community, the senior citizens and the high school kids."

Robin Clough, Senior Center Director of Volunteers and Recreation has been integral in assisting Hauser with launching Full Cycle within the Center.

Both women worked together at the painting party, each saying they were thrilled with the turnout and interest. Clough hailed it as an incredible experience allowing students and seniors to bond for a shared mission.

"Both untapped resources have a great enthusiasm and desire to help others, and Full Cycle has provided the vehicle and empowerment for such philanthropy," Clough said. "This type of social interaction is already making a difference in the lives of Canyon students and seniors, and I have no doubt that it will expand to result in a total cultural shift."

Hauser, a long-time team professional with fellow Re/Max of Santa Clarita Realtor Mike Lebecki, said she hopes the program goes nationwide, using the Senior Center and Canyon High as a synergistic pilot project.

"That goal is already in the works," she said. "The money that is raised will go back to the school and the Senior Center to help fill the gaps from budget cuts."

The amazing part of program is the enthusiastic support and new relationships being created between two groups of people that would not likely socialize together, Hauser said.

"I believe people are hard-wired to be good and want to give and be a part of something that is meaningful," she stated. "Full Cycle USA is the vehicle that will provide a guided path to a new way of being eco-friendly and socially active in our community."

For further information about Full Cycle USA contact Tracy Hauser at (661) 284-5034 or Robin Clough at (661) 259-9444. For information about the Senior Center's many programs, services and volunteer opportunities call 259-9444. Online visit: www.scvseniorcenter.org.

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