October 06, 2018

Paint Your Heart Out – an annual, countywide community building event

Bridge Investment Group volunteer team pose in front of the Shelton’s Fairpark home after they worked all morning putting a fresh coat of paint on it during the 2018 Paint Your Heart Out event.|Volunteers from Veritas Funding Old Mill paint Skylar and Shain Shield’s 100-year-old Poplar Grove home during the 2018 Paint Your Heart Out event. Shain, a disabled veteran, and his wife Skylar welcomed identical twins last summer.|US Bank volunteer team work on the Gamez home in Fairpark during the 2018 Paint Your Heart Out event.|NeighborWorks Salt Lake Board and families paint the Yancey home in Fairpark during the 2018 Paint Your Heart Out event.|||| Bridge Investment Group volunteer team pose in front of the Shelton’s Fairpark home after they worked all morning putting a fresh coat of paint on it during the 2018 Paint Your Heart Out event.|Volunteers from Veritas Funding Old Mill paint Skylar and Shain Shield’s 100-year-old Poplar Grove home during the 2018 Paint Your Heart Out event. Shain, a disabled veteran, and his wife Skylar welcomed identical twins last summer.|US Bank volunteer team work on the Gamez home in Fairpark during the 2018 Paint Your Heart Out event.|NeighborWorks Salt Lake Board and families paint the Yancey home in Fairpark during the 2018 Paint Your Heart Out event.|||| |||||||

By Terry Marasco

For 33 years, hundreds of volunteers from around the Salt Lake valley have converged on Salt Lake City’s west side to improve the community by painting homes for the elderly, disabled, veterans, and those with limited income – homeowners who are physically or financially unable to do it themselves.

Since 1985, the exteriors of over 810 homes have been painted during Paint Your Heart Out, an annual event of NeighborWorks Salt Lake, a local, nonprofit neighborhood revitalization organization. This year, 13 teams painted 13 houses and the event expanded county-wide.

Teams of volunteers, formed from the business and nonprofit communities, such as Wells Fargo, Rose Park Lions Club, Sutherlands, Bridge Investment Group, Andeavor, and Rocky Mountain Power, spent half of a Saturday sprucing up and painting the exteriors of homes last August. For the last 19 years ProCom Painting has helped spearhead this event by providing hundreds of hours of professional painting and guidance.

NeighborWorks Salt Lake’s mission is to build on the strengths of neighborhoods, creating opportunities through housing, resident leadership, and youth and economic development. The organization works in partnership with residents, government, and businesses to build and sustain neighborhoods of choice.                                              

Paint Your Heart Out is one way to help keep communities attractive, livable, and safe.

The importance of beautifying communities came from the “Broken Windows” idea (Wilson & Kelling, 1982) wherein rundown homes with broken windows are seen as an invitation to crime, escalating from petty to serious, that creates neighborhoods where people feel unsafe.

Paint Your Heart Out is more than putting a pretty face on a house. It is mostly about neighbors helping neighbors even when they live miles apart – and about community building through volunteerism. Many of the volunteers, like me, live somewhere in Salt Lake County other than the west side.

Volunteerism is a big deal in Utah: In 2015, the Corporation for National & Community Service listed Utah as the No. 1 state with 43 percent of the residents having volunteered, $3.8 billion in contributed service, and 76 hours per person/per year. NeighborWorks with Paint Your Heart Out helps Utah stay on top.

English Poet John Donne wrote in 1624: “No man is an island, every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” No citizen is an island. We are a piece of the city and state, no one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others. These neighborly opportunities bind us in ways that make our communities rich.

If your organization or business wants to join this campaign, or you want to volunteer next year, contact Shannon Kelley at NeighborWorks . To nominate a home to be painted next year, visit: www.nwsaltlake.org/paintyourheartout.html

Terry Marasco (aka Paintbrush Terry) volunteered for the 2018 Paint Your Heart Out as part of the Bridge Investment Group team.