KOSCIUSKO — United Way of Kosciusko County is kicking off the new Day of Action campaign Wednesday, July 15. A day of action has replaced the previous Day of Caring project that has been part of the community for 10 years.
Hundreds of volunteers are assigned to work at area schools to paint classrooms, hallways and parking areas from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. supporting educators.
Jo Faulkner, associate director at United Way, explained the Day of Action is a nationwide campaign that many communities have adopted this year, while others continue with the Day of Caring. Like other regions, Kosciusko County changed the focus from residential maintenance to school projects. United Way transitioned in an effort to “branch out into something different” and share the funds with 13 schools in the county. “We are providing all the paint brushes, paint cans, the tarp, rollers, everything for it,” said Faulkner.
With enough community involvement the expectation for the future will be to rotate the areas that receive a fresh coat of paint. “Some places are doing halls this year, some we are doing rest rooms, lots of places are doing classrooms. After this year we will see what they would need for the following year. If we get enough volunteers.”
The goal for the pilot program is to reach 600 volunteers this year. The number of volunteers is a bit lower this year due in part to the need. Some volunteers feel the personal connection the Day of Caring provided has been lost due to the transition. Jason Avery, Day of Caring coordinator at Chore Time Brock in Milford explained, “It’s not the same as seeing the faces of the people you helped, but it is helping the community.” CTB volunteer Bill Roper agrees, “It’s a great way to show community support.”
Custodians at each school are encouraged by the support and worked closely with United Way to determine the number of volunteers needed. Warsaw Community High School for example will have 100 painters in just one hallway. Faulkner reported the home of the Tigers has six miles of hallways. The Day of Action will allow custodians to focus on more pressing issues.
Despite the first impression volunteers and coordinators had about the transition of support, they now see the value of their giving. Tina Ramien, Day of Action coordinator at Zimmer-Biomet, tells The Papers her initial response was somewhat unsure but as she relays to her team leaders during the kick-off meeting Thursday, July 9, the new campaign is an opportunity to serve teachers. “I learned teachers pay for their classrooms to be painted. They buy the paint and often paint their rooms.” Adding “That’s money out of their pockets.
Armed with 1,213 gallons of paint, 600 community supporters will spend the day serving the students and staff across three school corporations, putting care into action.