From left, James and Elaine Diaz play four square with their sons, Jaden and Jacob Diaz, at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary on the play area they recently repainted. Photo by Amy Byres.

Diaz Landscaping Management is a small business giving back to Rio Rancho Public Schools in a big way.

James and Elaine Diaz own Diaz Landscaping. At the beginning of each school year, they donate school supplies to families in need.

They have also provided an outdoor play-space with artificial turf at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary and volunteer to clean up MLK’s campus twice a year.

To name a few other projects this giving couple has done:

• They have repainted MLK’s four-square play area;

• They have donated to the school’s coat rack, where students can grab a jacket if they do not have one;

• Around the holidays, they help families in need with food and gifts; and

• They help raise funds for various projects through RRPS.

“My kids are little and they go to MLK. And MLK is like a school-family to us,” Elaine said.

At MLK, she is involved in the Parent Teacher Student Association, a member of the advisory committee and an advisor for National Honor Society.

She is the mother of 8-year-old Jacob Diaz and 6-year-old Jaden Diaz. Jacob’s favorite part of MLK’s playground is the four-square area his parents repainted.

“It is very rewarding to see the kids smile. They were very excited (for the repainted four-square area). They haven’t used some of these items in so long, and when they saw the bright colors, they started using (that play area) again, so it is totally rewarding,” Elaine said.

MLK counselor Deidra Apodaca nominated Diaz Landscaping for the Acts of Kindness award RRPS sponsors every year. Apodaca said they have changed the campus for the better.

“They are an amazing local business that has a heart for our schools and community,” she said.

Elaine said Diaz Landscaping is fortunate to be in a position where it can give back to the community.

“MLK is one of the oldest schools in Rio Rancho. We are bursting at the seams … and so when I saw they needed some help, I was happy to do it,” she said. “… I would probably do it if my kids didn’t even attend MLK.”

Elaine is collaborating with MLK’s art teacher to paint the school’s mascot in the front of the building. She is also working on funds to repaint MLK’s crosswalks.