Pictured from left to right: Allen Kentner (AB&I), Juan Belloso (AB&I, Ravi Badyal (AB&I), Gilberto Bolanos (AB&I, Principal Carla Henderson (Grass Valley School), Kevin McCullough (AB&I), Rich Watson (AB&I), Unnamed Teacher(Grass Valley School)

When burglars broke in and stole the safe at Oakland's Grass Valley Elementary School, students and parents alike thought that the field trip for which they had been raising funds for months would have to be called off.  Over $300 had been taken, along with the safe itself, and dreams of a fun day away from the classroom had been dashed. Or so everyone thought.

Oakland businessman Kurt Winter saw the report of the burglary in a local news report and called in his team to see what could be done.  Soon, a small group of volunteers from nearby AB&I Foundry were in contact with school principal Carla Henderson, and the wheels were set in motion to right the wrong that had disappointed so many young children.

“We thought the least we could do was to replace the funds,” said Zeydi Gutierrez, AB&I's Human Resources Manager.  While AB&I was quick to donate the lost cash, Gutierrez' team wondered if there might be something else the foundry could do to help the school.  Principal Henderson, new to the school for 2011, was quick to reply “well, the library is looking pretty shabby and could use a fresh coat of paint”.  Within days, a paint scheme was chosen by the school and paint and supplies purchased for the project.  AB&I team members volunteered their time to prep and paint the library walls, and soon the library was the beautiful centerpiece of this distinguished school.

Principal Henderson was more than pleased with the results.  “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said during a recent visit to the school by the AB&I team that did the work. “Your efforts have inspired us all, including many parents who are getting more involved with the school now that they see we're getting things done, and we really appreciate all your help.”

As an added bonus, AB&I donated a safe and a multi-media projector to replace the ones that were damaged during the robbery or stolen by the thieves.  “AB&I is pleased to be able to assist the school with their needs,” said foundry Vice President Kevin McCullough at the school gathering.  “We like to be able to help our community when and where we can, and we especially like to help with the education of our young kids.”

Parents or others in the community that would like to volunteer at the school, or assist them in some other way, are encouraged to contact Principal Carla Henderson at (510) 879-1220.