My name is Adrian Esquivel (Fatz), and I am an AmeriCorps member working at Winton Lifeline Community Center. I and a group of young, at risk youth from the community get together on a daily basis and drive around Winton looking for graffiti to paint over. In case there is graffiti at a private property we ask for permission, then we get a permission slip signed by the owner of the property before we paint over the graffiti, not leaving any patches, but paining the whole fence with our paint that is donated by Merced County.
LifeLine CDC and CLEO have set up an account at the local hardware store to get our supply of rollers and green spray paint for the garbage cans. Lately, we have been working with the local post office to get paint, and have their permission to also go around cleaning mail boxes, but that is still pending. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and money. We spend about three hundred to four hundred dollars a month for gas, and about forty to fifty dollars for supplies like rollers, brushes, spray paint for trash cans, etc.
What I find greatly satisfying is the positive feedback from the community. Once a lady named Aurora came to the site and made us lunch for cleaning the graffiti across her street. Another day a lady came in and brought us sodas while we were working on her fence. Mario and Daniel B. were taggers working on community service hours for getting caught tagging. After seeing how grateful people were when we cleaned up the community, they both, to this day have stopped tagging. Mario went back to school and Daniel got a job to keep busy.
In conclusion, not only do we make Winton a better place, but we also make a positive difference and change in someone’s life. It’s a great feeling to get a paycheck and be happy about the changes you have accomplished!