'Despicable Me' Minions to Spiff up a North Hollywood School

They'll be painting murals and beautifying Rio Vista Elementary School.

"Despicable Me" minions. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.
"Despicable Me" minions. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Hundreds of Comcast and NBCUniversal employees and their families -- aided by a Transformer and a handful of "Despicable Me" minions -- will descend on a North Hollywood elementary school tomorrow to paint murals and beautify the campus as part of an annual community outreach event.

The Comcast Cares Day event at Rio Vista Elementary School, held in conjunction with National Volunteer Month, is one of many being held across the country and overseas that will include more than 80,000 Comcast and NBCUniversal volunteers.

"For us, it's very rewarding and frankly the result is a hugely satisfying experience," NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer said.

Meyer said the company has supported Rio Vista Elementary, 4243 Satsuma Ave., for more than a decade, but Saturday's event will be a major transformation of the campus.

"We'll paint, literally, the entire exterior of the school ... to give it a brand new look," he said. "We do murals that focus on diversity and the arts and digital literacy."

Meyer said there was an overwhelming response from employees who wanted to take part in the event, to the point that too many people volunteered. About 700 people are expected to be involved in the effort, which is also held in partnership with City Year LA, a nonprofit organization aimed at keeping kids in school.

"We had such an overwhelming response," Meyer said. "It's great that people want to be part of it."

Adding color to the event will be the assistance provided by some well- known residents of Universal Studios Hollywood -- "Transformer" Optimus Prime and a contingent of "minions," Gru's popular yellow assistants from the "Despicable Me" animated films.

The result is expected to be a campus with a whole new look, giving the school's more than 400 students a surprise when they return to class Monday morning.

Comcast Cares Day events have been held since 2001, with more than a half-million company employees donating more than 3 million hours of their time to community projects.

--City News Service


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