WORCESTER, Mass. - Volunteers from UMass Chan Medical School were brightening the halls at Worcester's East Middle School Thursday with a new coat of paint.

It's part of their longstanding commitment to support students and staff within Worcester's North Quadrant. The medical school said it's important for students to know people care about them and their education.

"I think that kids are a lot more observant than sometimes we give them credit for,” said Ché Anderson, assistant vice chancellor for city and community relations. “I think when you walk into a building that you've been going to for one year or multiple years, when something is different, whether it's the ceiling or the floor or the walls, I think hopefully it enlists a really excited response.

"It shows that people care and it shows that maybe we're trying to do something a little different. The hope is that the young people come back and they're just happy that instead of whatever that beige off white color is, it’s now a nice sort of vibrant blue and maybe it puts a little pep in their step and their school to show that people care about this building."

The building is almost 100 years old. UMass Chan's "North Quadrant Support Services" works with the 12 schools in the area to address some of the socioeconomic barriers students and families face.