Big Sunday, a Southern California nonprofit organization that spans from San Diego to Ventura, chose El Puente High School in Santa Barbara to be among its renovation projects.

Principal Cecilia Molina applied to the organization, hoping to have new carpets for classrooms, as well as school desks, and fresh paint for doors and walls in several areas. “To my surprise, our school was accepted and they are so happy about working in Santa Barbara,” Molina said.

Many of El Puente’s students have been referred by the probation department or expelled from other schools. “I want the families and students to be proud of the school,” Molina said, “and know that we all care about their students regardless of why they are here at El Puente.” She said that the support is very welcome “especially in these challenging economic times. My staff and myself are excited and really look forward to the help.”

El Puente will be one of 300 schools that are a part of Big Sunday Weekend in early May. Donations are necessary for the program to continue helping schools, nonprofit organizations, and other agencies. Last year, 50,000 volunteers helped, making Big Sunday Weekend the largest regional community service event in the country, according to its organizers.

Volunteers are still needed for this year’s Big Weekend at El Puente: One hundred people will work at the school on Saturday, May 1, from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. Carpets will already have been installed by then, but the volunteers will be enlisted to help paint, and to move furniture back into place. They may also serve food and drinks on Sunday, May 2, at a fiesta to celebrate the project’s completion. To sign up as a volunteer, visit


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