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Volunteers brighten halls of YWCA’s Homewood-Brushton Center

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Phillip Poupore | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh muralist Lynne Mack, 51, of Jefferson Hills, paints a mural at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Homewood-Brushton Center as part of PPG’s “Colorful Communities” initiative on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.
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Phillip Poupore | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh muralist Lynne Mack, 51, of Jefferson Hills, paints a mural at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Homewood-Brushton Center as part of PPG’s “Colorful Communities” initiative on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.
ptrcolorful03080716
Phillip Poupore | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh muralist Lynne Mack, 51, of Jefferson Hills, paints a mural at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Homewood-Brushton Center as part of PPG’s “Colorful Communities” initiative on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.
ptrcolorful04080716
Phillip Poupore | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh muralist Lynne Mack, 51, of Jefferson Hills, paints a mural at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Homewood-Brushton Center as part of PPG’s “Colorful Communities” initiative on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.

Ellen Sheppard has dedicated her life to serving the community and empowering women as a YWCA Greater Pittsburgh development officer.

That’s why she didn’t hesitate when she was asked if PPG could repaint classrooms and add murals at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Homewood-Brushton Center.

“It’s amazing, and it’s going to elevate the profile of the entire building,” she said. “If this is a positive space, you have a better chance for positive outcomes.”

The project is one of 30 PPG is coordinating this year as part of its Colorful Communities initiative. The mission is to make communities where PPG has a footprint brighter and more colorful.

“The PPG community globally and in Pittsburgh was looking for opportunities where we live and work,” said Sue Sloan, PPG’s executive director of corporate global social responsibility. “We’re trying to connect where we feel like we’re a family.”

Between May and December of last year, 11 projects were completed in the United States, Canada, Europe and elsewhere.

Trisha Schum, 46, of Cranberry volunteered last year at the Propel School in Hazelwood. More than 75 PPG employee volunteers painted hallway corridors and classrooms. Schum said she mostly helped organize, but this year she finally got her hands on a paint brush.”

“Luckily, I do have the experience to see the faces of the people it affects,” she said. “I could see the faces of the children and teachers light up when they saw it.”

This year PPG joined forces with the United Way, which helped coordinate with local groups to see where PPG’s efforts would be best put to use, including the YWCA.

“We fund organizations that are fiscally strong and do what they say they’re going to do in moving the lives of children,” said Lois Mufuka Martin, United Way chief volunteer engagement officer.

More than a dozen volunteers on Saturday painted classrooms and murals at the YWCA Homewood-Brushton Center. Local artist Lynne Mack, 51, outlined the murals, while volunteers colored them in using paint by numbers.

“It’s so cool to see every little kid that comes through here so excited,” Mack said. “This is something they can have to make them smile.”

Sheppard said PPG’s contribution meant much more than just beautifying the building. It paves the way for other organizations to want to contribute to the YWCA in some way, she said.

“It’s a snowball effect. Something like this leads to other investors coming in.”

Phillip Poupore is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7820 or [email protected].

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