Students in Los Banos’ San Luis High School Wolfpack Program are getting involved in their community by cleaning up graffiti around town.

The Wolfpack Program, part of the afterschool activities at San Luis High, has cleaned up three different graffiti-filled spots. On April 3 and April 4 students started from the San Luis campus and ended at West J Street.

The purpose of the program was initially to get the students involved in the community because the school has mandatory community service hours that need to be fulfilled by the students.

The Wolfpack Program director is Vincent Lopes, San Luis’s Afterschool Program Site Leader. He connected with the Los Banos Police Department, and officers told him that graffiti was a growing problem in the area, Lopes decided that cleaning the graffiti was the best route for him and his kids.

This project, Lopes said, “is the best way to get the kids quickly involved in something that enabled them to be a lot more independent, versus having to work in a large-scale group.”

The Wolfpack Program also decided to move forward with the graffiti clean-up plan because Sergeant Ivan Mendez, of the Los Banos Police Department Special Services Unit, said the department already had the supplies needed to do it.

The supplies the Wolfpack used included material worn by the students to protect their clothing and skin, as well as spray paint to spray a couple layers of paint over the graffiti.

Many permission slips were given out, and Lopes said he was hoping to get four to five students to help and be supervised by at least two tutors.

Lopes added that “if anybody wanted to donate snacks and water, that would be great because the project calls for students to be outside for at least a few hours and the protective gear the kids wear can get kind of hot.”

Donations can be made at the school’s front office with the stipulation that they be used for the Wolfpack Afterschool Program.

Lopes noted that while the current graffiti clean-up project is in one school right now, “over the next few years we’re hoping that it will be picked up by other schools.”

At San Luis High, Lopes said, “We do community service and also have a very wide variety of clubs for the students that will give them different types of vocational training and job skills, as       well as providing interview mockups and resume building.

“We also have fun clubs,” Lopes said, “like our art clubs and game clubs.”

The Wolfpack Afterschool Program began as an enrichment activity, but now it is offered as a social skills and life skills enrichment class. Lopes believes this afterschool program is doing great work with kids, and h

Marc Anthony Briones