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Fresh paint lifts spirits and brings community center to life

Fresh Paint Lifts SpiritsDoing more with less is a common struggle in today’s tough economy. Nonprofit organizations, in particular, are feeling the pinch. But thanks to the Finishing Chicago, one organization is boosting morale and saving much-needed dollars.

The nonprofit Family Matters in Rogers Park recently welcomed 12 members of Finishing Chicago, who donated their time and skills to give the facility a big makeover. They painted common areas, including the basement, first and second floors, and stairwells, in fresh, cheerful colors.

“This is a huge gift,” says Tawanna Brown, deputy director for Family Matters. “The beautification on the inside reflects how we feel as a community. This is a second home for many people, and having that reflected aesthetically is important to us.”

Fresh Paint Lifts SpiritsEstablished in 1987, Family Matters provides diverse programs for children, teens, and young adults and families to support them in achieving their goals. The focus is on academic achievement, leadership development, social and emotional learning, and health and fitness. The organization works with about 250 young people each year.

“Most of the youth at Family Matters are from lower-income families,” Brown says. “Families tell us they appreciate having a safe, positive place where they can come together and find equal acceptance, encouragement and challenges.”

Many of the Finishing Chicago members who volunteered for the project are unemployed, so they know firsthand how difficult it can be to scrape by with scarce resources. One member who led the effort to rally volunteers believes it’s important to reach out to others who are coping with challenging circumstances.
Stair painting   

Fresh Paint Lifts Spirits“I believe in helping others, especially at a time when so many people are struggling to make ends meet,” says Al Barraza, a painter for 12 years. “Everyone has been touched by this economy — from neighbors and friends to family and co-workers.”

It took 31 gallons of paint and several hours to make the Family Matters center look fresh again. Now, the young people who rely on its resources have a warmer and more welcoming environment. And they can take heart in knowing that their community cares.

For more information about Finishing Chicago and its philanthropic projects, contact Clark Johnson at, 773/993-0657.