Volunteer organizations in Oklahoma City plan to use donated paint — new, old and every color — to revitalize a neighborhood.
Catholic Heart Work Camp is a nationwide organization that sends teen volunteers across the country for a week to participate in community improvement projects.
Campers come to Oklahoma City every year, and this year they are partnered with the Neighborhood Alliance and Rebuilding Together OKC for the project.
The organizations plan to spend a week in June painting and repairing 40 homes in the Culbertson East Highland neighborhood, which was selected through Oklahoma City's Strong Neighborhoods Initiative.
Neighborhood Alliance has been collecting paint since April, and Ashley Dickson, who works with the alliance, said they are up to about 40 gallons.
Dickson said more than 100 gallons is needed, and the Oklahoma City Hazardous Waste department has pledged to donate a 55-gallon drum.
Once the desired amount of paint is attained, Dickson said, all the cans are mixed together in large drums, and the color usually turns out to be tan or brown.
She said she's confident enough paint will be donated, but other supplies also are needed for the project.
Dickson said they are looking for businesses and citizens to donate water and snacks for the 300 teenage volunteers from Catholic Heart Work Camp.
Mary Smith, Catholic Heart Work Camp manager for Oklahoma City, said the teens, ages 14-18, will arrive in Oklahoma on June 23 from Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The campers will stay at Bishop McGuiness High School and will volunteer at the area food bank and area Boys and Girls Club programs, along with helping in neighborhoods.
Although this summer's project is new, this isn't the first time the organizations have spruced up a neighborhood.
Jeanna Daniel said volunteers from Neighborhood Alliance and Catholic Heart teamed with her neighborhood association to repaint more than 100 homes in the River Park neighborhood over a seven-year period.
Daniel, who started the River Park neighborhood association in 2006, said crime reduction and an increase in community participation were the results of the home improvements.
“For someone in the neighborhood, having someone come and fix up their home gives them their dignity back,” Daniel said. “It gives them their heart and spirit back.”
Dickson said she hopes the organizations can achieve the same thing by rehabbing houses this summer and in other neighborhoods in years to come.
“When you feel proud of your home, you become more connected with the neighborhood,” Dickson said.
How to help
The project will take place June 24-27, and donations can be dropped off at Neighborhood Alliance, 1236 NW 36.
For information on how to get involved and donate, call Dickson at 528-6322.