The Colorful Communities program provides PPG volunteers and paint products along with financial contributions to bring color and vitality to communities where the company operates around the world, such as in Miami, where PPG has 20 PPG PAINTS stores.
The project brought together more than 100 PPG global leaders, who spent a combined 250 hours revitalizing the school’s cafeteria, band room and hallways. PPG provided more than 60 gallons of PPG Paints products to assist with the project, while the PPG Foundation granted $10,000 to the school to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational initiatives.
Originally opened in 1926, the Booker T. Washington High School is the second oldest public high school built for African American residents in Miami. Although surrounded by poverty and a lack of resources, the 70 faculty members operate the school as a tight-knit unit, providing student-centered and culturally responsive classrooms where students can succeed.
Nearly a decade ago, the school’s graduation rate was less than 50 percent. Now, more than 85 percent of students are graduating, and an increasing number are pursuing further education.
“We are very thankful for the generosity of PPG and the PPG Foundation as they support our efforts to bring this beautiful and historic campus back to life for those who cherish it most,” said Dale Hirsch, CEO, HandsOn Miami. “It is truly gratifying to be able to come together and make a positive change for the young people in this community.”
The PPG volunteers painted areas of the facility in the school’s long-standing colors of orange, black and white to provide inspirational learning environments that will be beneficial to the success of current and future students for years to come. The project also included three bright, music-themed murals in the school’s once monochromatic band room. The school’s band program is a centerpiece of the extracurricular activities offered at the school and provides students with the opportunity to compete in local and statewide competitions.
“At PPG, we know that paint is more than just the color on the wall. It can breathe new life and purpose into a school, create memories and spark emotion,” said Malesia Dunn, PPG executive director, PPG Foundation and corporate global social responsibility. “The positive impact that our paint and employee volunteers can have on learning environments through the Colorful Communities program motivated us to make a tangible difference at Booker T. Washington High School.”