Walter Hays (Palo Alto)

Flo's first project was at Walter Hays, the school that her children attended. Over the course of one year, Flo, a few of her friends, the students, and some parents completed 11 murals for the school. Nine of the murals represented core values chosen by the school, one raised money from parents who came to help paint it, and the final mural along Middlefield was Flo's signature mural. The works of art represented values such as empathy, perseverance, respect, and cooperation. In addition, each of the students got the opportunity to personalize the walls by adding a small detail of their own like a small bird or a flower. At the end of the project, all of the 550 students worked together to draw a banner thanking Flo for her work.

Los Robles Magnet Academy (East Palo Alto)

The next mural that Flo painted was at an East Palo Alto school where she also painted 11 murals. These murals featured the school's mascot, an oak tree, and also focused on diversity, unity, and bilingualism. She worked with a Menlo Park law firm, Kilpatrick and Townsend, who sponsored the project and also helped paint the murals. Flo received many hand drawn/written cards and thank you's from the students, staff members, and community. 

"Thanks for the murals you did at our school because it helps us make more friends"

"Your mural is so special because all the kids are holding hands and like one another"

Flo received amazing testimonies of how the murals had impacted some of the kids lives. One boy who was only 5 years old suffered from severe arthritis and struggled every morning to go to school. But as soon as the mural work had started he was eager to go to school every day to discover the work in progress.

Another child said that she learned, by looking at the murals, that she could be pretty even though she had a dark skin.

And one more student said that he could make friends more easily since he saw that you just have to hold hands to one another to make new friends.

Luther Burbank (San Jose)



Flo's third project was at Luther Burbank in San Jose. Originally, Flo and the principal had agreed on one mural since the school was facing some challenges at the time. But, after seeing the positive impact the first mural had on the community, the principal asked for Flo to paint more murals. Flo and a few of her friends painted three more. As the quote says on the new mural: "we all walk together in life and we learn from one another."

Roosevelt School (Redwood City)

This is the first school in Redwood City where Flo painted murals. The principal wanted the murals to share the school message: "Dream it, Believe it, Achieve it".

Flo wanted to give a modern and colorful look to the murals and therefore suggested that she write the three words in big capital and beautiful letters. 

The new murals brought so much positivity to the school that the principal came back to her and her friends and asked for two more murals with quotes from Roosevelt plus one with the simple and elegant word "Persevere."

Flo painted one final mural with a tall giraffe on the elevator tower as a gift to the retiring principal whose favorite animal was the giraffe. Throughout the project a little Japanese boy came and watched her paint. At the time he was struggling a lot with school integration, feeling lonely and very anxious because of  the language barrier. Having this mural with friendly animals painted helped him a lot to like his school and encouraged him to come to school every day.

House Near Los Robles Magnet Academy

A staff member at Los Robles Magnet Academy approached Flo and asked if Flo could paint a mural in her living room to represent a family tree where she could hang pics of her five kids, one of whom had passed away a few years before. That was a very meaningful project.  Flo, her friend and her daughter helped to paint the mural.

Able Works (East Palo Alto)

Able Works, a non-profit organization in East Palo Alto, equips individuals with financial education, life skills and assets that enable one to live free from oppression and poverty. They asked Flo to paint murals on two private homes where people could live free of charge for 1-2 years to help them have a new start in life.

Hoover Community School (Redwood City)

Flo first painted a mural with trees in order to brighten up the concrete walls. Then the principal asked her to paint another mural with heroes that would be role models for the students of the school: Dr. King, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Rosa Parks, Elena Ochoa, and Roberto Clemente. Flo designed a big oak tree with five heroes on its branches.

Then the principal asked if Flo could paint a couple of trees that would hold diplomas and graduation hats on its branches as many of the students at Hoover are the first ones in their family go to college.

In 2019, Flo painted a fourth mural with the participation of all the 8th graders who put their handprints on a tree.

There will soon be a 5th and a 6th mural for the STEM and the community rooms in the future. Flo is hoping to find corporate sponsors who will come and paint as a team building activity and support the project financially.

© 2020 by Paint Strokes of Hope

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