Friends Jordan, 9, and Rayline, 10, giggled together as they browsed bookshelves beneath a canopy of bright green leaves “growing” from a decorative tree that is just one element of a sweeping community center makeover at National CORE’s Citrus Grove community in Rialto.

The reading nook – once a cramped storage area crowded with cardboard boxes – brims with captivating books, lush pillows, a plump bean bag chair and the whimsical reading tree. Along the wall above the books, multi-colored puffs spell out READ.

It’s all thanks to the Southern California Gas Co., which provided funding and volunteers to complete the makeover.

“It is so cool!” Jordan said. “There is so much more space now.”

Rayline said her favorite part of the makeover is a new wraparound couch. Along with the reading nook, SoCalGas replaced worn furniture with the fluffy couch and sleek metal cubbies for backpack storage.

Previously drab walls now sport a fresh coat of soft gray paint and banners offering encouraging words about kindness. Display boards display children’s richly colored drawings and assignments.

“This has brought a new life to Citrus Grove,” said Sandra Sigala, who coordinates programs in the community center for the Hope through Housing Foundation. “The revitalized space brings a vibrant light to the community. I am so glad that kids have been enjoying the new amenities.”

Hope through Housing President Greg Bradbard thanked SoCalGas for the beautiful renovation.

“It’s the support of partners like SoCalGas that make it possible for us to create a really welcoming space where our kids feel a sense of belonging,” Hope through Housing President Greg Bradbard said.

SoCalGas previously transformed Sunset Heights’ community room in 2019.

SoCalGas Senior Public Affairs Manager Kristine Scott said part of the company’s mission is to create safer and more equitable communities by providing grants that can fulfill people’s needs and forge opportunities.

Kristine said that the renovated community room is designed to nurture hope and foster a love of reading. Because children are inspired by their environment, a new space allows them to learn and discover new heights in a place they can call their own.

“We are all about giving back to the community,” Kristine said. “We feel like we will not succeed as a business unless the community that we serve succeeds.”

See images of transformation here

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