Paintbrush in hand, students cover damaged walls with a fresh coat of bright yellow. Volunteers squeeze in, trying to find a place to make their mark, leaving with ruined shoes, speckled skin, and a newly painted house.
A.R.T.S. Club’s fourth annual Paint Your Heart Out was in full swing on Sept. 21, when students gathered at Palm Beach Lakes Blvd at 9 a.m., ready to paint. Paint Your Heart Out was created by the Solid Waste Authority to revive communities for households that can’t afford to paint it themselves.
The event started off with adults and Joanna Aiken, Paint Your Heart Out organizer, dividing students into different sections. Each section had different tools, such as ladders, rollers, or hand brushes, to cover every part of the house.
“The SWA has 4,000 volunteers,” Ms. Aiken said. “Sometimes, we have to turn volunteers away because of how packed it is.”
Within a week of sign-ups, all the available spots were taken, and the club had to send an email to members to stop bringing permission slips in. During the event, some volunteers had to search for supplies because all the brushes were in use. Fifty volunteers that worked together to finish the house in two hours.
A part of Paint Your Heart Out’s appeal for students is to be able to be with their friends, roll up their sleeves, and get messy.
“My favorite part is when I’m painting next to my friend and she gets paint on her, and we start screaming [and] laughing,” said Emma McCue, A.R.T.S. Club project committee member and dance junior.
No participants left the event without a smudge of paint—from an indiscernible smear on their shoes to having a full face in yellow. Experiencing the event means getting paint on your hair, clothes, and shoes, but that’s one of the reasons why so many students are excited about participating. Due to the event’s popularity, the SWA is teaming up with Dreyfoos for another Paint Your Heart Out later on this year.
“Kids want to give back and they don’t know how,” said A.R.T.S. Club sponsor Sarah Ray. “This is a really nice and easy way to help them fulfill that.”
The painted houses serve as a monument of community service to all of those involved and as a physical reminder to the volunteers to be grateful and feel proud of what they did.
“Every time we go down that street, we are going to see that house and know that we helped it,” theatre sophomore Daniel Reiter said. “We helped the community, and you can actually see it.”