Operation Clean Slate Featured In Costco Newsletter

Operation Clean Slate in Costco NewsletterCheck out this great write up that Operation Clean Slate recently received in the Costco Member newsletter!

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Operation Clean Slate, a non-profit organization in Southern California founded by Costco member Michael Howard, involves students in hands-on mural-painting activities that help beautify school campuses and reduce graffiti vandalism. At the same time, students learn about issues such as nutrition and exercise, anti-tobacco messages, pedestrian safety and water conservation.

“I started Operation Clean Slate while I was a teacher at the Juvenile Hall school in Orange County,” says Howard, 46. “it’s been my full-time job for about 18 years.”

The inspiration for creating Operation Clean Slate came to Howard while he was driving to Los Angeles to visit his parents. “Along the freeway I noticed some graffiti off to my right. I’d seen graffiti lots of times, but this time it spoke to me. It was as if I heard a cry for help.”

As Howard looked into what communities were doing to address the problem he quickly discovered they were overlooking what he felt was an elemental question: why kids were doing graffiti in the first place.

“I figured if you address the root cause – that kids need to be creative, have their self-esteem nurtured and a safe place to express themselves and channel their energies into something positive that benefits the community – then you could reduce graffiti,” he says.

To date 24,000 volunteers have completed more than 700 large-scale murals at 360 schools throughout Southern California as well as in Washington and Iowa, and produced five murals outside the U.S. in Kenya, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru.

Costco Article by T. Foster Jones


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