- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2002

Wendie Lubic was using dabs of orange paint yesterday to brighten a mural of yellow daffodils at the Center for Creative Nonviolence.
"We need more leaves on this tree," she told a volunteer at the Northwest center that serves the homeless. "It doesn't look enough like spring."
Ms. Lubic, a graphic artist and professor at American University, was among about 1,000 volunteers from the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center who fanned out across the city yesterday to deliver presents to children, serve meals to the homeless, paint faces and liven up walls.
"We are trying to make things beautiful so they look less institutional," said Ms. Lubic, who has volunteer for the project for six years. "It is part of a desire to give back to the community."
This was the first time Susie Baer, a 40-year-old computer consultant, has volunteered on Christmas Day.
"I would call homeless shelters, and they would say that you can't just volunteer for one day," she said, taking a break from working on one of the center's four windowlike murals. "Then I found this special organization of people pulling together. It is better than going to Chinese and catching a movie."
Chinese food and a movie the phrase of the day.
Blocks away, at Change Inc. in Columbia Heights, 11-year-old Ngan Do celebrated Christmas by having a volunteer paint a blue- and red-glitter dragon on her face.
"It is my favorite day," she said. "The face paint is my favorite part. I like all the nice people, too."
Her brother had a red Spider-Man painted on his face and received a new remote-control truck from Santa.
William Kreisberg, the center's president, said yesterday was the perfect day to give time to others because many of the volunteers do not celebrate Christmas.
"Instead of grabbing Chinese food and a movie, we can bring cheer to others," he said.
More than 350 children attended the holiday celebration that included games, cookie-decorating, face-painting, clowns and Santa.
Chad Kampe, a 20-year-old college student from Bethesda, helped children put sprinkles on their cookies. It was the first time he had volunteered on Christmas Day.
"I found it interesting," he said. "Normally, I have nothing to do other than Chinese food and a movie. This is a much better option."
Many of the volunteers were too tired to attend the party that center officials organized for them afterward but said they were happy to have spent Christmas volunteering.
"I cannot say I look forward to it every year, but I am happy to come," Ms. Lubic said. "We go home tired and dirty, but we feel like we have done something worthwhile with our day for other people."
Better than Chinese food and a movie.

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