Mural at Oakland daycare painted to prevent more vandalism

Vandalism has plagued an Oakland daycare for more than a year, but now new graffiti-type artwork may be what prevents the school from getting tagged and defaced again.

Starlite Child Development Center on 14th and Alice streets near Chinatown celebrated its new vibrant and bold mural Tuesday, featuring every letter from the alphabet painted in graffiti-style lettering.

"Parents are happy, people walk by and take pictures of it," said daycare owner John Wong. "It’s a tremendous improvement from about a year ago."

The outside of the 23-year-old child development center was vandalized numerous times over the past year but clean-up efforts lagged, and the city threatened to fine Wong if the tagging was not removed within 10 days.

California Highway Patrol Officer Adib Zeid learned about the ongoing problem and enlisted some help from community partners to battle the ongoing vandalism.

"It was definitely heartbreaking," said Zeid. "There are some things that should be off limits and we want to protect, and we should be protecting as a community."

Drawing on the daycare’s purpose, graffiti artist Tion Torrence who goes by "Bukue One" had the vision of painting the walls with big colorful letters and orange stars in hopes of discouraging vandals.

"Just the feeling of vibrance, the feeling of joy, the feeling of power of the alphabet," Torrence said. "What I can do is show the young taggers there’s another way."

It became a life-lesson in care and appreciation for students who were mesmerized and excited to see the bold colors, letters and pictures spray-painted on the outside walls of their school.

"This is really nice and I’ve never seen such beautiful art like this," said student Eldine Kom. "I think whoever made this mural deserves a raise."

For Wong, the fresh paint means a fresh start for students, teachers and parents.

"Human kindness over adversity always happens," he said. "I have faith now. About a year ago I felt like I was defeated and there was no way out of it but now – I’m restored."

Brooks Jarosz is a reporter for KTVU. Email him at and follow him on Facebook and X @BrooksKTVU