Company Takes Day off to Makeover East Harlem Project

With every stroke, behind every scoop, stood a volunteer in East Harlem with one goal in mind: To make a difference in the lives of others.

"It's been very special being able to clean up this place in one day," said volunteer Kim Tunick.

After taking the day off, Tunick and some 600 other employees of Digitas, a Boston-based branding agency, chose to spend their day by bringing life to a dilapidated building through color.

"Even just the color and the vibrancy of the murals themselves helps paint a brighter picture," said volunteer Bengt Asplund III of Digitas.

In addition to a fresh coat of paint, the Washington-Lexington Houses on East 102nd Street were also getting more greenery.

"Right now, we're just planting various plants and digging holes and making it look beautiful," said Tunick.

And with the right tools and the strength to go along with it, each volunteer in conjunction with the help of the Union Settlement Association was able to repaint facilities and plant gardens.

"Giving back to the New York helps me feel apart of the city," said Asplund.

A welcome sight for those who call the place home.

Tenant Columba Sanz, 80, has lived in Washington houses for the past 18 years.

"This whole project is a blessing," Sanz said. "It's good for our health number one and it is good for our community."

It's people like Sanz that make it all worthwhile, said Digitas' president.

"Just to show them that we care and we want them to be successful, it means a lot," said Joanene Zaiac, president of Digitas New York.

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