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 Volunteers Will Upgrade Davila Day School Garden

Davila Day School will get an upgraded garden and outdoor classroom this month thanks to a volunteer effort from an insurance services firm.

The Chula Vista school is operated by the San Diego County Office of Education and serves students who are deaf or hard of hearing and live in the southern and eastern portions of the county.

Employees with BB&T-John Burnham Insurance Services will come to the school May 20 to fix up the garden. They plan to paint garden beds, install a walkway, pull weeds, plant vegetables and herbs, create an area for drought-tolerant plants, and install benches for an outdoor classroom.

"Any time we can do something to help the children, it's something we strive to do," said Marci Shullo, assistant vice president of the firm.

The work will help to create a peaceful place where students can go to relax or learn, Shullo said.

It will also allow teachers to offer more hands-on science lessons in the garden, making it more of a learning center, said Tina Neal, coordinator at the school.

"We are ever so grateful to be recipients of the Lighthouse Project from BB&T," she said. "It's a dream come true."

The community service effort is part of BB&T's annual Lighthouse Project, which seek to help nonprofit and community organizations.

"We want our employees to be able to make a visual impact and do something that's going to involve being creative using our hands," Shullo said. "We'll have employees over there with garden tools, ready to work."

The firm wanted to help a school and approached the San Diego County Office of Education to find one with needs that would work well with BB&T's community project goal.

"Davila Day School's garden project seemed like a really good fit for the kind of work and resources that we can provide," Shullo said.