Crews from The Home Depot work to rebuild the playground at Clay Elementary School in Mableton.
MABLETON, Ga. -- With the Olympics generating such good feelings across the world, 11Alive's Help Desk set out on a mission to help upgrade a Metro Atlanta school in need of support -- Clay Elementary School.
"This is the way I grew up; my family was poor. I know that I can help these kids, because someone helped me," said Florence Williams, Clay's principal.
Sometimes help can take a long time to arrive, but sometimes, when it hits, it does so in a big way.
"The idea was to go in and enhance a school in Metro Atlanta, to give the school something that they couldn't afford, and it led us to Clay Elementary School in Cobb County," said 11Alive's Bill Liss.
The student body at Clay, says Williams, is basically low income.
"It doesn't mean that the kids can't learn; it just means that their parents don't have a lot of money," she said.
It also means the school can only raise a tiny fraction of what most schools generate from their PTAs, and that means outdated equipment and a gravelly, unsafe play area.
"The PTA does not have very much money, if any at all, and the principal had a wish list of things she wanted to do but couldn't afford to do it, and she gave it to us," Liss said.
Within a few weeks, every wish was answered. Volunteers from The Home Depot began digging away all the gravel. In a few weeks, they will re-sod the whole area, making it a safe and excellent play area.
"We're talking about having given our volunteers a three-day notice ... and look how many ... 15 people volunteered to come out here today," said Natalie Wilson, project coordinator for The Home Depot.
And while Home Depot was busy outside, there were surprises for Clay Elementary inside. A representative from Atlanta's Showcase Photo & Video arrived at Clay to install a small television studio so the youngsters could broadcast morning newscasts that they would write themselves.
"It's amazing seeing them, and they respond so immediately. They love being on camera, they love touching the camera," said Showcase's Jack McKinney.
"With the writing and the reading and the speaking, it is going to mean so much to them. These kids deserve so much," Williams said.
Williams has been at Clay for years, but admits its a rare day when she sees this much help for her school and her students.
The students don't return to school until next week, but a few of them got a sneak peak at their new tools. They don't need to worry about where all the help came from. And that's just the point -- for once they don't need to worry.
"We just can't afford to purchase new equipment , so just having someone to get that equipment for us is very beneficial, and we appreciate it greatly," said Williams.
Clay's mascot is the dolphin. The Georgia Aquarium is now building the school a special "dolphin backdrop" for its broadcast studio.