On Saturday, June 25, over 130 volunteers gathered at McCulloch Park for “Paint the Park,” a park beautification project planned as part of Whitely Community Council’s “Year of Color.” In just a few hours, teams of volunteers painted park benches, structures, and picnic tables in a wide array of brilliant, vibrant colors. The color palette, comprised of 18 hues varying from bright and bold to soft pastel, was inspired by the exterior paint on the Centennial Place apartments.
Almost as varied as the color palette was the range of ages, experiences, and organizational ties represented by the volunteers who came to help out. While many volunteers were affiliated with Whitely, there were also a number of individuals from Ball State, Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful, local church groups, and cultural organizations. Leon Crosby, a teacher at Cornerstone Center for the Arts, led a group of art students in painting a graffiti mural on one side of a bathroom structure.
While most of the volunteers were part of a painting crew, one group spent the day landscaping the median. Yvette McCall, a member of Whitely Community Council’s hospitality committee, shared, “I learned a lot about planting and mulching working on the median today. It makes work easier when you have a lot of volunteers, and you can just see how much nicer the park looks.”
Augusta Wray, a Ball State employee and member of Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful was also on the landscape crew. Wray expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to connect with other community members through volunteering. “The opportunity to make a difference in Muncie, even a little one, is great. I grew up in Muncie so I’m pretty familiar with it, but volunteering with your fellow community members, getting to chat with them for a few hours, makes you feel so much more connected – not only to the people you talk to, but to the community you share,” Wray stated.
This event was about more than just adding a splash of color to the neighborhood-- it gave local residents an opportunity to collaborate on a project that has revitalized a meaningful community gathering place. Marchel Hudson, president of Motivate Our Minds, explained why being involved with this project held significance for her. “We used to play in this park when we were kids, and now we’ve got this opportunity to give back. You can see what a difference this beautification makes. What we’re doing today is helping make a brighter future for our kids,” Hudson stated.
Mary Dollison of Whitely Community Council echoed Hudson’s sentiments. “If I had to describe today’s experience in one word, it would be ‘phenomenal’. I had no idea we would have so many volunteers show up, and it is very encouraging to see what a transformation can take place when people come together.”