Providence community group nearly thwarted on project - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Providence community group nearly thwarted on project

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By: Alexandra Cowley


A service group in Providence trying to repaint an elementary school, almost gave up, because it had to go through so much red tape.

Project Night Vision thought they had everything they needed to give the inside of The Harry Kizirian Elementary School a fresh coat of paint. They had the paint, the brushes, and donated food to feed volunteers. But come time to get to work today, they didn't have enough hands, because of a new requirement by the school district that everybody get a background check.

When students at Harry Kizirian Elementary return to school next week, they'll be greeted by freshly painted walls. But before volunteers could use the blue painters tape, they had to cut through a lot of red tape.

Kobi Dennis of Project Night Vision has been the leader of countless community projects.

Dennis says, "They're taking their time off to drop off paint, they're taking their time off to actually paint, and this is what they have to deal with."

Dennis says this is the first time his volunteers have had to get background checks.

"I'm telling them they cannot enter the building unless they brandish a BCI check, I don't get it," said Dennis.

Dennis says he'd been organizing an effort to repaint the inside of the classrooms at the empty elementary school for weeks, and wasn't notified by the school department until the last minute, that his volunteers would have to be screened.

"I just feel like it's a smack in the face for people like myself that are working out here everyday," explained Dennis.

The school department declined an interview on camera, but tells ABC 6 news that this is in fact a new policy for all volunteer groups within the district. The policy was put in place after some workers were exposed to asbestos and lead paint. That's why the Providence School Department requires groups to have insurance as well.

Dennis understands, but wishes he had more time to prepare his volunteers.

"I agree with what they're trying to do for the children of our city, but I also know that it's a community effort as well, and we need to work together," he said.

The School Department says the late notice was miscommunication.

Project Night Vision completed 4 classrooms today, they hope to paint the rest tomorrow.

(C) WLNE-TV 2013

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