A new mural is offering encouraging words to many young teens, all thanks to its creator at Centennial High School.
Alex Cook, a muralist from Boston, was invited by 18-year-old Cori Borgstadt, a high school graduate and Girl Scout, who is earning her Gold Award.
The Gold Award is the equivalent to becoming an Eagle Scout through a project she hopes will touch the lives of thousands.
“It’s a simple message, big enough on a wall that’s very eye-catching, that students can read quickly but get so much out of it,” said Borgstadt. “This area gets a lot of foot traffic when kids come on to campus so it’s one of the first things they will see.”
Borgstadt and a team of classmates and volunteers rolled out of bed during summer break to help put the finishing touches on a 42'-long mural. Once completed, the words that bring it to life will read, 'you are loved.'
The important phrase is something many young teens say is needed more than ever.
“It’s a really amazing way just to have people who maybe don’t always necessarily always feel seen...and heard,” said Centennial senior Carter Smith.
“I’ve been able to be involved with 99 of these murals so far,” said Cook, watching over the volunteers painting in the letters he sketched the day before.
Cook, owner of You Are Loved Murals, says his work exists in locations like schools, homeless shelters, cities and prisons all across the country. But it was an email from a stranger he previously received that gave new meaning to his work.
“He intimated to me in his email that he had decided that day to end his life, and by the grace of God he came upon one of these murals as he was going through his day and he said that it felt that it was speaking directly to him and that he decided not to end his life that day,” said Cook.
So, while they are only words on a wall, they may come at just the right time, giving hope when it’s needed most.
“I think this is one thing that will hopefully be universally received and that is you are loved, you still are loved, and you will be loved,” said Borgstadt.