My Eagle Scout Service Project involved the painting of St. Irene’s Greek Orthodox Church in Astoria, NY. The Greek Orthodox Diocese of New York sponsors and organizes the pre-school programs at St. Irene’s. The project lasted seven (7) days, from September 30, 2010 to October 6, 2010. The plan involved the painting of the entire second floor interior corridor and external balconies; and, the polishing of all wood doors and the waxing / polishing of the floor.
I – Selecting a Project
I decided to paint St. Irene’s because it is a prominent church in my community and many of my friends and family members send their children to St. Irene’s pre-school. Additionally, the second floor and balconies were seriously in need of painting because there was rust and peeling paint on the balconies and bare drywall on the second floor.
II – Description of Work
The work entailed the preparation and painting of the second floor and third floor balconies, the preparation and painting of the second floor hallway, and the cleaning and polishing of the floor and doors on the second floor. The balconies were to be painted an almond color (oil-based, exterior gloss paint) and the interior was to be painted white (latex flat) for the ceiling and off-white (latex semi-gloss) for the walls.
Mr. Nicholas Zagalis, a family friend and professional contractor, and Mr. Ray Pruzinsky, an adult leader of Troop 11 and experienced painter, helped me in the planning and preparation of my project. I was assisted in the selection of paints and materials, as well as coached on the proper procedures of painting both indoors and outdoors. Given the very limited amount of time I had to complete the project, I had to work after school as well as the weekends. The church was very gracious in letting us do our work while the pre-school program was in session.
I contacted several individuals and organizations in an attempt to secure donations for the service project. I was mainly looking for paints, supplies and equipment. The individuals and organizations that agreed to donate supplies were:
- The RustOleum Corporation donated interior and exterior primer, off-white and white interior paint, almond exterior paint and compound. The approximate cost was about $400.
- Home Depot donated two gift cards worth $200 dollars each.
- Mr. Nicholas Zagalis of Socrates Contracting Corporation donated ladders, tarps, garbage bags, floor paper and other ancillary supplies.
Mr. Steven Gillman from RustOleum agreed to donate the paints and ship them to my house. Mr. Edwin River, the store manager of my local Home Depot, donated two gift cards worth $400 which I used to purchase additional items such as rollers, brushes, buckets, scrapers, and paint trays, etc.
III – Preparation
After acquiring the materials needed to complete the project, I still needed to take care of certain tasks:
- Work had to be scheduled.
- Individual emails and phone calls to Scouts and parents had to be sent/made to see who would be able to attend the project.
- Driving directions with alternate routes had to emailed to everyone.
- Food and refreshments had to be provided.
- The work site needed to be supplied with rags, safety goggles, a first aid kit, and an eye wash center.
- Safety rules for working on the project had to be drafted:
- a)Only adults could use ladders or dangerous tools.
- b)If a person’s eye came into contact with any foreign object or liquid, they had to immediately flush out their eyes at the eye-wash station.
- c)Everyone was to know the location of the first aid kit, which was in the kitchen of the church.
Individual phone calls were made to family members and friends to confirm their attendance at the project. I also announced my project at the troop meeting to make sure all of the Scouts were informed.
IV – Project Execution
On the first day of the project (September 29) the second-floor hallway was cleared of any items on the floor and the application of spackling compound was applied where needed. There were many areas of the walls which needed to an application of spackle, including parts of the ceiling. Since so much spackle was applied we couldn’t begin painting on that day, so I left the spackle to dry overnight. The following day (October 1) painting of the walls began. We only had three volunteers (my father, our family friend Peter Demiane, and I). My father and I began by sanding down the spackled parts of the walls and ceiling in order to give the walls a smooth and even texture. While we were doing this, Mr. Demiane was painting the parts of the ceiling that we had already sanded down. After the first coat of latex white paint was applied to the ceiling we moved on to the walls. My father and I used rollers to apply a coat of latex, off-white paint while Mr. Demiane trailed behind us “cutting corners” with a small brush.
During the third day of the project (October 2), the railings of the balconies outside were scraped and spot-primed. Primer was only applied to the parts of the railing that was rusting and less than a gallon of primer was used. A primary coat of oil-based, high-gloss, almond paint was applied after the primer had dried. Several 4’ x 4’ drop cloths were laid out on the balcony so as to avoid getting paint on the concrete. Then 10’ x 10’ drop cloths were applied under the balconies so that the adults painting the outer part of the railings would not get paint on the floor of the courtyard. On the following day (October 3), a second and final coat of almond paint was applied to the railings, completing the outdoor part of the project.
On the third and fourth days of the project (October 2 and 3), the work was divided between indoor and outdoor. This was because these were the only two days the weather permitted us to work outside. Mr. Demiane was the only one working inside during this time, applying a second coat to the ceiling on the third day. On the fourth day, while work was being done on the outside, he was applying the third and final coat to the ceiling – the third coat was needed to provide an even, uniform appearance. When work was finished on the balcony, the rest of us went inside to help him apply a second coat to the walls. While we were painting, Mr. Pruzinsky was “cutting the corners” with a brush. On the fifth day of the project (October 4), painting had to be done to the areas of the hallway that were blocked by storage. My father and a few friends had to move all of the boxes and suitcases into an empty room to prepare the area for painting. Once this was done we applied two coats of paint to the walls.
On the second to last day of the project (October 5), we replaced the baseboards. The first task was to rip the old baseboards off the walls and clean up any mess there may have been on the floor. Once the walls were stripped, work began on the application of the new baseboards. The first step was to apply glue to the parts of the walls where the baseboards would go. Of course we did not apply all of the glue at once, since much of it would dry before we had a chance to apply the baseboards. After the glue was applied to a section of the wall, the baseboards were attached and any excess glue was wiped away. After the baseboards were attached and finished, we began working on the wooden doors in the corridor. We first cleaned the doors with Murphy’s Wood Soap and water. We thoroughly cleaned and lightly scraped the doors with cheesecloth to remove anything staining or sticking on the doors. We then applied one coat of wood oil polish to all the doors. When the doors dried, we applied a second coat of polish. After it dried again, we buffed and polished the doors using soft, smooth cotton towels. On the final day of the project (October 6), my father and Mr.Pruzinsky waxed and polished the floor using floor wax and an electric floor buffer provided by Nick Zagalis.
V – Completion and Clean-up
After the project had been completed, we needed to clean up the worksite. Since the floors had already been cleaned as a part of the project, all that remained was removing the equipment and unused supplies. We donated all of the excess paint, primer, and supplies to the church for use on any future projects they may undertake – the donors all agreed to this arrangement and they did not want any supplies returned. The rest of the equipment was returned to Socrates Contracting which provided it to our project.
VI – Changes
My original project proposal did not include waxing and polishing the floors and doors on the second floor. However after seeing the condition in which the floors and second floor doors were in, I decided that the project would not be complete without giving them a proper wax and polish.
My project had a positive impact on the church. The expenses that were saved by allowing this project could be diverted to the various programs that St. Irene’s offers the community. In addition, the second-floor is now much more attractive to the clergy, visitors and staff residing there. In addition to directly helping St. Irene’s with the project, I have also indirectly helped them by introducing this particular church and its programs to people who did not previously know what St. Irene’s had to offer (in reference to the individuals who helped me with my project). The clergy was very pleased with the work that was done and showed a great deal of appreciation to myself and Scouting as a whole.