SCRAP Gallery, spearheading community service projects for young people


Joan L. Boiko

The Coachella Valley SCRAP Gallery offers local students the opportunity to give back to their communities through various service projects during this school year.

Named as the lead agency of Youth Service America (YSA) for the eighth consecutive year, SCRAP Gallery Founder and Executive Director Karen Riley presented three projects during the 2021-2022 school year that will use the time and the talents of students from several unified schools in Palm Springs. District schools for the good of the community.

The first project was the September 11 Day of Service and Remembrance. Riley explained that SCRAP Gallery was one of some 100 organizations nationwide to receive the 9/11 Flag of Honor Memorial, created by Global Youth Justice Inc., which includes the names of the 2,983 people who have lost his life on September 11, 2001. attacks.

“The SCRAP Gallery has been selected to participate with the students of Cathedral City,” said Riley. “The flag was hoisted at Nellie N. Coffman Middle School (NNC) and the names of the deceased were read by the students of NNC. Students in Sara Hadley’s NNC Exploratory Class also created pods of wildflowers that people can plant in memory of those lost on 9/11.

The student-made pods were distributed at local 9/11 memorial ceremonies in Cathedral City and the Palm Springs Air Museum, and students from NNC and Painted Hills Middle Schools and Sunny Sands and Bella Vista Elementary Schools sent approximately 1 000 thank you cards. first responders, active duty military personnel and veterans in Operation Gratitude. The Cathedral City Evening Rotary supported the project by providing materials for the students and funding the shipping costs.

“The club (CC Evening Rotary) supports all of our projects in any way they can,” Riley noted.

NNC students creating seed pods.

The next community service project will be for Martin Luther King Day in January, and plans are underway for a “One day, not a day off,” service day, Riley said, adding that an art exhibit in conjunction with Riverside County Office Education will likely be part of the day’s activities.

World Youth Service Day, scheduled for April 29 to May 1, 2022, aims to bring young people together to address the world’s most critical issues and change in their communities.

“We’ll be working with Nellie Coffman’s Exploratory Program to create a day of environmental education and hands-on activities focused on our Walking for Water 6K,” said Riley. “Walking for Water is an event where children and adults walk six kilometers, carrying six liters of water in a backpack. The event aims to demonstrate the difficult reality that residents of many developing countries face every day in accessing safe drinking water for basic uses such as hydration and health, personal hygiene, cleaning and – often – survival. Six kilometers is just under four miles, and the average distance that women and girls in developing countries have to walk each day, typically carrying 20 liters (5.2 gallons) of water for themselves, their families and their livestock.

NNC students looking at the Flag of Honor.

The SCRAP Gallery is Riverside County’s only children’s art and environment museum. All art is created using discarded materials donated while teaching children about complex environmental issues, arts, culture and science. The YSA grant helps the program expand its reach even further.

“When we’re able to receive this grant, it empowers and challenges us to do more,” said Riley. “We can do good things in our community through planning and student participation. “

In addition to the support received from Cathedral City Evening Rotary, local YSA projects are made possible through funding from YSA, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, AmeriCorps and Global Youth Justice.

Joan Boiko is the Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Palm Springs Unified School District. She can be reached at (760) 883-2701, ext. 2 or send an email to


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