Thousands of volunteers in South Florida and around the globe are gearing up to make positive change happen on Saturday. It's part of Comcast Cares Day, and it's about to take some local special needs students by surprise.
"I've tried to keep things a secret," explained Alina Iglesias, principal of Palm Lakes Elementary in Hialeah.
That's where several hundred pairs of hands will help paint the teacher's lounge, build benches and plant trees at Timothy H. Artman Park across the street.
"We're very blessed," said Iglesias, smiling about the surprise.
Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal. The service day is about creating a legacy of service.
"It's the one day that our friends, our company, our employees, our families, the community rallies around giving back to the communities that we serve," said Jeanie Hernandez, Director of Community and Governmental Affairs for Comcast.
Since 2001, volunteers have donated more than 2.6 million service hours with community partners. This year, the non-profit organization Best Buddies International is joining the effort in sprucing up Palm Lakes Elementary - one of more than 4,200 project sites nationwide. Best Buddies provides friendships and employment to individuals with developmental disabilities.
"We are honored," said Natalie Van Eron, Senior Director of Development and Marketing for the organization.
Palm Lakes is home to 898 students, including 65 with special needs, according to Iglesias.
"Our kids, they shine here, and the beauty of it is that the rest of the students become very sensitive to our special needs kids," she said. "That's so important, you know, because it creates compassion."
Iglesias shared the Comcast Cares Day change she's looks forward to seeing.
“The big surprise is gonna be the makeover of the teacher’s lounge and the beautification of the outdoors," she said.
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