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Paint with Us

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Volunteers are our lifeblood—we can’t do our work without you! In fact, for our work with volunteers in the community, Publicolor won in 2000 our nation’s highest award, the President’s Service Award. There are so many rewarding ways to get involved!

Please join us any Saturday to paint alongside our students and informally mentor them by talking about your education and career. This dialogue introduces our youngsters to a much wider variety of job options than ever imagined, and encourages them to stay in school. Engagement in this type of high-level conversation is a greater indicator of academic success than family income. What an effect you can have!

Painting FAQ

Q. When can I volunteer?
A. We paint Saturdays (9:45am -3pm) during the academic year. Weekday volunteering (Tue/Wed/Thur, 3-5pm) is reserved for sponsors of $10K and above. Please contact Bree Falato for available dates.

Q. How do I get there?
A. Publicolor will provide directions to the school via public transportation.

Q. Where will I be painting?
A. We paint at various public schools in the different boroughs of New York City.

Q. What about lunch?
A. We provide lunch for all. In order to help defray costs for lunch, paint, supplies, stipends, student-metro cards, programs, etc., we kindly ask that volunteers donate $20 per adult and $15 per student.

Q. Can I bring my kids?
A. We love children, but because our work is so technical we prefer that the children you bring be 12 years or older and chaperoned by you while they paint.

Q. What do I wear?
A. Please wear painting clothes and shoes. We use odor-free latex paint that will wash out of your hair and skin but not out of your clothes. We will provide gloves for painting upon request.

Q. Can I use my cell phone?
A. We ask that volunteers DO NOT use their cell phones while volunteering with Publicolor. We're teaching our students good work habits, which include paying constant attention to one's work.

Q. How does a typical Saturday look like?
A. Please arrive at the school no later than 9:45 am. We will pair all volunteers with Publicolor students, go through a quick orientation, and start painting in no time! Please use this time not only for painting but also to connect with the Publicolor student alongside whom you’ll be painting. This is a golden opportunity for both volunteers and students to share an unforgettable and unique dialogue that we view as informal mentoring. We’ll pause for a healthy, nutritious lunch around 12pm, and resume painting until 3pm.

Q. What’s expected from me on a typical Saturday?
A. Show up on time and ready to have fun in a meaningful way. We’d love for you to informally mentor our students, so please make time to discuss the career and education choices that shaped your life. Wear clothes you wouldn’t mind getting paint on. No painting experience necessary. Please be safe when joining us on site: we take our students’ and our volunteers’ safety very seriously, so please support our commitment to an accident-free working environment.

Q. How am I making a difference by volunteering to paint on site?
A. Each year, supported by thousands of volunteers, we transform at least twelve struggling public schools and several community facilities. Without our dedicated volunteers’ support, we wouldn’t be able to touch the lives of thousands of underserved students citywide. Additionally, your conversations with our students about college and career choices have been life-changing for many of our youth

Q. What if I can’t paint but I still want to make a difference in Publicolor students’ lives?
A. Thank you for wanting to help in other ways! Feel free to join us as a volunteer tutor, mentor, guest speaker at our life skills workshops, or give a tour of your company to Publicolor students. Click here for more info.

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