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Project Paintbrush helps seniors improve property

project paintbrush

Project Paintbrush volunteers can assist seniors and people with special needs to paint their fences and homes.

Fort Macleod homes will get a free face-lift this fall through a pilot project that puts volunteers together with people who need help.
Project Paintbrush will match volunteers with seniors and people with special needs whose houses and fences need a fresh coat of paint.
Volunteer Lethbridge executive director Diana Sim said there are many rewards for people who take part in Project Paintbrush.
“You see that you make a visible difference,” Sim said. “From the time that you come to the project, you scrape down the fence and you paint, there’s a visible transformation of the person’s yard. That’s been the most rewarding thing.”
“Some of the home owners can hardly keep back their tears when they come out and thank the volunteers,” Sim added. “They know they can’t do it themselves, yet they see their whole yard has been transformed within three to four hours. That’s really rewarding to the volunteers as well.”
Volunteer Lethbridge started Project Paintbrush in the city in 2004, with two projects carried out that year.
The number of projects has grown each year, with 13 carried out so far in 2013.
Sim was in a Lethbridge mall with a display for National Volunteer Week when she met Tami Nickerson of Fort Macleod.
“It started from a conversation as to the potential of Fort Macleod to be our rural project this year,” Sim said.
Sim and Nickerson hope to carry out at least one project in Fort Macleod this year.
“I saw the poster and right away I thought of Fort Macleod,” Nickerson said. “Fort Macleod has a great atmosphere. The community really comes together. When I saw that this gave an opportunity to people who couldn’t maintain their own homes, I thought this was a great opportunity for the community to come together again.”
Seniors and people who own their homes but can’t do the work are eligible for Project Paintbrush.
Project Paintbrush also takes into consideration a person’s finances as a deciding factor, with a limit of $25,000 to $30,000 for annual income.
“It immediately spoke to my heart,” Nickerson said. “I know a lot of the senior citizens in town and I know how important their homes are to them.”
Volunteers are needed to do the painting.
Sim said businesses have undertaken painting projects in the city as a way to support their community.
“We have lots of individuals who have come out,” Sim added.
People and businesses can also help through financial contributions.
People can also help by providing lunch for the volunteers and assisting in other ways.
Fort Macleod is a test site for Volunteer Lethbridge to explore taking Project Paintbrush to surrounding communities.
“My goal was to take it to one additional community,” Sim explained.
Nickerson was delighted her town was chosen for the pilot project and is hopeful one or possibly two homes can get painted this summer and fall.
“I think next year we can really grow this,” Nickerson said.
Home owners can fill out an application form at www.volunteerlethbridge.com or call Tami Nickerson at 403-360-8664 or Volunteer Lethbridge at 403-320-2044.
People interested in volunteering can also contact Nickerson at 403-360-8664.
“I personally don’t view this as charity,” Nickerson said, noting Project Paintbrush also benefits the community by improving the look of homes. “I see this as an opportunity. I think overall the result speaks louder than the acceptance of help.”

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