This week at Paint Love, we were lucky enough to have a group of volunteers join us from an organization called Break Away. Break Away is a nonprofit that helps college organizations around the country create meaningful “alternative breaks” for participants. These alternative breaks are opportunities for students to spend their vacations from school completing service projects with community partners around the country and even the world. As a community partner, we were joined by students from Central Michigan University, Middlebury College, University of Colorado and more.
The Break Away team members were participating in their annual leadership conference in which they learn how to facilitate future trips and discuss active citizenship. The theme of this year’s conference was Placemaking and Public Art. Placemaking is the idea of taking what makes an area unique and highlighting those qualities in projects that bring the community together and make it stronger. Projects like the Clarkdale Kids Mudcloth Mural at Clarkdale Elementary and the collaborative mural we created with Kate’s Club are great examples of how we placemake at Paint Love. Our Break Away volunteers helped us finish up both of those projects this week, and they joined us for programs at Our House and Camp Peace. In addition to volunteering with us, they worked with the Piedmont Park Conservancy and members of the Kirkwood community. We are so thankful for their energy and enthusiasm that helped make our first week of summer programming a great success.