The Gift of Paint Tacoma Beautiful
by Heidi Maloney, Administrator, Unity of South Sound
I run a crew of about 25 volunteers in participation with the Paint Tacoma Beautiful program. Six years ago during a staff meeting for our church, our Reverend presented the idea of partnering with Paint Tacoma Beautiful to paint a house for a homeowner in our community. Something in me lit up and said, “I would love to be a part of that!” So I started recruiting painters, and supplies every Sunday, and that July we took on our first home.
The day before “Paint Day”, my Mother passed away unexpectedly. I was heart-broken, and questioned whether I would have the strength to run the crew. I decided to go anyway. I put on some sunglasses (as my eyes were so swollen with tears), and showed up to the house with my “brave face” on. I was met with such love and compassion from the volunteers and the homeowner. A part of me was healed that day. I was so moved, that I decided to commit to painting one house every summer in honor of my Mother.
Two years later we were given a house that was a serious challenge. It was a cedar shake house that looked like it had been picked up, moved to the desert for decades, and then moved back. It required weeks of scraping, and pressures washing before we could even paint it. The homeowner was a delightful woman, who was so incredibly appreciative of the work we were doing. Half way through the project, her Mother passed away, and she had too travel out of state to be with her family.
The day we were scheduled to paint her house, one of our volunteers had a wonderful idea to write prayers and words of encouragement on the primer, photograph them, and then paint the prayers into her house. We asked the homeowner’s permission, and she gave us her blessing. We poured our love and compassion in to her house that day. She returned the week after we finished, so I met her at the house for the “unveiling”. I presented her with a photo album of the project, including the prayers painted in to her house. She was so moved to see her home looking so beautiful. She told me that it healed a part of her broken heart. It was in that moment that I realized that the healing had come full-circle. Since then, we have made it a tradition to paint prayers into our project house every year.
I can’t say enough about the Paint Tacoma Beautiful Program. It has changed lives in countless ways. I’ve seen people filled with joy, healed from pain, and even fall in love while painting. It is a beautiful gift to our community, which we will be a part of for years to come!