Creating an outdoor haven for kids

Dozens of employees from Genentech’s two Bay Area campuses descended on Suisun Valley Elementary School Friday to help create an outdoor oasis for students and staff.

Outfitted with safety equipment, a plethora of tools and can-do attitudes, the men and women raked, weeded and built from about 9 a.m.-noon. It was the annual Genentech Gives Back Week, and the helpers were committed to get as much done as possible.

Principal Jas Bains Wright expressed thanks for the school’s relationship with Genentech to make the work possible, explaining that school just let out for summer, allowing time to complete a long To Do List.

“Our main focus is to get the garden ready for students when they come back in August,” she advised.

She indicated a series of clipboards, each detailing a project that needed to be done. From repairs yard work to other handiwork, there was a little something for every skill level and participants appeared fearless.

Over near the area featuring a dragon made of tires, a group of men worked in tandem to lay landscaping material and chicken wire before crafting raised planted boxes for those areas. They leveled and measured, cut and placed, ensuring a good fit as clouds of dirt rose around them.

Joe Luna, an 18-year veteran of Genentech, said he enjoys being involved in the local community.

“It gets you excited for the rest of the year,” he enthused.

He claimed no gardening expertise, but was dedicated to getting the job done right.

“I’m not good at all. I’m not super handy,” he admitted, “but I take good instruction and I give 100%.”

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Frank Bellocci, an electrical engineer, took charge of the task. It was his first event in his 1 1/2 years with the company, he said, and he got to put his gardening skills to good use.

“We’ll try our best and see what we can do,” he said of building the planters. “This is a great way to give back.”

Mohammad Hamzavi, a scientist, said the event is his sixth Give Back project.

It’s all about nature, he said, being outside and working with his hands.

“It’s beautiful,” he shared. “I like nature. It always gives back to you.”

In the gardens, Edith Dominguez, a senior manager in cleaning validation, and Sri Vidyala, a senior engineer in the same area, swept the human sundial locale.

Both said they enjoyed pitching in and beautifying the area for the kids.

Under a shady tree, Joanna Hong and Neina Madaan, a

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment


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