By Kristine Cannon
The walls of Swift Youth Foundation are a fitting visual representation of the nonprofit organization: vibrant, bold and full of life.
But this wasn’t the case as of a few days ago.
On August 12, Scottsdale Fresh Coat Painter employees dedicated their time to paint the walls, giving the nonprofit organization a much-needed facelift since moving into the new office space in the Airpark just over one year ago.
“The new space fits our needs a lot better than before, but all the walls were white,” says Swift Youth Foundation Assistant Director Michael Evans. “The white walls did not give the fun, energetic and kid-friendly atmosphere we desired.”
As part of Fresh Coat Painter’s Fresh Coat Cares program, owner Michael Gorman and a handful of his employees gave Swift Youth Foundation a fresh look for free. Gorman estimates the project would have cost the nonprofit $3,500 to $4,000.
“We do things the right way, and that’s our tagline: Painting done right. And to me, part of that is giving back to the community. The community’s been good to us, and so we want to reflect that back,” Gorman says.
Sherwin-Williams donated the paint and materials for the project.
“They’re our partners in this,” Gorman says. “A Sherwin-Williams color consultant came in and helped match up their colors.”
Fresh Coat Painter Scottsdale intentionally chose colors — blues and greens — that reflect the nonprofit’s brand.
“We are so excited to be able to add some color to our work space and really make the space our own. We work with kids and love to have fun, so adding our fun brand colors to the walls was a no-brainer,” Evans says.
Evans adds the new paint “signifies making the office their own.”
“Before it was a workspace that anyone could work in, but now it is Swift’s space. The office now screams Swift, and that’s the way we like it,” he says.
Swift Youth Foundation was founded in 1980 and, for nearly 40 years, has provided economically disadvantaged youth with a residential summer camp experience called Camp Swift.
Camp Swift was founded by Jewish teens as a social action project of the Southwest chapter of the North American Federation of Temple Youth — then called SWFTY and now called NFTY SW.
The teens wanted to share the gift of a camp experience with kids who would otherwise never be able to afford it.
The Camp Swift program initially included one annual four-night, five-day overnight camp session each summer, but the program expanded 10 years ago to include year-round after-school programs and summer day camps.
“As our Camp Swift program wraps up for summer, Swift looks forward to keeping the fun going into the school year through our diverse offering of out-of-school programs for the youth we serve,” Evans says.
Approximately 600 kids ages 8 to 11 and 125 college-bound teens participate in Swift’s programs each year — programs that range from positive, mentor-based after-school programs to teen leadership development programs.
What’s unique about Swift is its peer-to-peer model.
For example, approximately 125 teens serve as volunteer counselors at Camp Swift each year.
“So, it’s older teens who go through instruction on how to mentor and end up mentoring younger teens,” Gorman says. ‘The goal is that the younger teens eventually move into the mentor roles, and it just keeps developing that way.”
“We see peer mentorship between youth and teens as the essential element that enables the success of our participants now and in the future,” Evans adds.
Fresh Coat Painter is relatively new to the Scottsdale area; it opened last year.
There are, however, 130 Fresh Coat Painter locations nationally.
Gorman said he’d like to provide paint services to an organization in need annually via Fresh Coat Cares.
“There are a lot of painting companies out there, but we’d like to be just a little bit different. We want to be a partner in the community,” he says.
Information: swiftyouth.org, freshcoatpainters.com ν