By SHERI GASSAWAY
North St. Louis – Knowing a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference in the world, 10 volunteers from Painters District Council 58 spent a recent Saturday sharing their skills to boost school pride at Yeatman-Liddell College Preparatory Middle School.
It was all part of Make a Difference Day, sponsored by TENGA, KSDK-TV’s parent company, and supported by the Arby’s Foundation and Points of Light. This year’s effort involved volunteers visiting schools throughout the St. Louis area to give them a makeover.
Captain Ron Johnson, director of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Office of Community Engagement and Outreach, helped organize the effort at Yeatman, and one of his first calls was to Gary Otten, District Council 58 political director and field representative.
“Captain Johnson asked us to provide volunteers to serve as supervisors for the project, and we were happy to do that,” Otten said. “Our members live and work in the area, and we’re always looking for ways to give back to the community.”
PPG Paints donated the paint for the project, and the team of union painters provided direction to a group of over 150 volunteers. Every floor of the building received a fresh coat of paint and even a few murals.
Paul Rice, a teacher at Yeatman, told KSDK that he’s been looking at the same burgundy gym doors since he was a student at the school.
“Just to see this yellow in here and the kids to be able to come in here, it gives them a brighter day,” Rice told the station. “You know, when you see brighter colors you have a brighter feeling.”
School Instructional Coach Julia Kaiser agreed, saying, “It’s a new beginning. It really counts as a new beginning for us.”
Now in its 26th year, Make a Difference Day is held the fourth Saturday in October each year. For more information, visit makeadifferenceday.com.