Kiwanis believes that we can change the world, one child, and one community at a time.
I think that I am the world's worst painter. I hate painting. I hate it primarily because I am so bad at it. I seem to be able to get more paint on myself, than on what I am painting. I try, but painting is just not one of my skills.
Every year, our Kiwanis Club tries to paint a home for a needy Senior citizen. We call the program "Paint Your Heart Out." We always try to paint a home for someone, or some group that doesn't have the resources to do it on their own. We work with our Community Action Team, RSVP, Senior Citizen Organizations and others.
Last year, we painted a group home for physically and mentally disabled people. This year we wanted to be sure and help a senior citizen.
Glen Higgins is the Chief Planner for our County Land Development Services. Years ago, he was in charge of the County Community Action Team. Glen is compassionate and he knows people. He's the driving force behind "Paint Your Heat Out." Early in the year, Glen sent out feelers to the Community Action Team and various groups, asking them to "keep an eye out" for someone who might need help.
He got a few responses, and checked them out. None of them quite met our clubs' criteria.
A club member told Glen about an elderly neighbor. He mentioned that this person didn't have much money and her home was in desperate need of paint.
Melvin Moore is President of our club and owns a contracting business. He does digging, paving and septic systems. Mel volunteered to talk to the lady and see if she would like us to paint her home.
Mel pulled his pickup off the main road and parked it in front of her house. He got out and jauntily walked up to the front door. It appeared that the front screen was about to fall off. Ancient paint, from earlier times, curled its way over dead wood; in many places he could see cracked bare wood.
"Wow!" thought Mel. "This lady really does need help."
Mel knocked on her door.
He knocked again.
Still no answer.
Mel was sure that someone was home. He continued to knock until he finally heard someone walking toward the door.
The door opened a crack.
"Hi. I'm Mel Moore, and I'm the President of our Kiwanis Club. We would like to paint your house for you."
"No thank you," responded the lady.
"You don't' seem to understand" smiled Mel. "We'll paint your house at no charge. We'll paint your house for free!"
"No!" said the lady as she slammed the door in Mel's face.
Mel knocked again.
He could hear a voice from behind the door. "Go away! I'll call the police if you don't go away!"
Mel related his story to Glen Higgins. "That lady doesn't want her house painted."
Glen grinned. "Why don't you let me see if I can do something?"
A few days later, Glen let everyone know that the lady would be pleased if we would paint her home.
Mel was astounded. "How did you get her to agree?"
"It was simple," said Glen. "I found her son. He and I visited her. You know the old saying 'If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.' You scared her. When we explained to her what we had in mind she looked up at me and had the biggest grin on her face."
"She did?" queried Mel?
"I asked her if she wanted us to paint her house, and she said 'Why sure!'"
The next couple of weekends, Glen and Mel mobilized our club members. They borrowed a pressure washer and paint sprayer from another contractor, and set about scraping, patching and painting.
As I mentioned before, I hate painting and I am not very good at it. I usually try and help with the prep work instead. This year, I was out of town and wasn't around to do pressure washing or patching. I was stuck with painting. I was determined, this time, not to get drenched with paint. My wife, who is good at painting, helped me dress. I wore a set of coveralls, old paint shoes, a hat and I carried several sets of surgical gloves. I was determined that I would remain paint free.
The crew was busy masking windows. I was given paper and tape and I started working at taping windows. I thought to myself, "This is great, "I won't get paint on me this time."
I felt something drop on my head. I looked up and saw excess paint dripping from under the eves.
I quietly said a bad word.
We masked, we brushed, we sprayed; we worked at painting throughout most of the day.
The house began to look brighter, and I, despite my best efforts, noticed that most of my bare skin was covered with paint.
The crew left, the painting was finished and the only one that remained was Glen and the little lady that owned the home.
She walked outside with Glen and he noticed what appeared to be a small tear in her eye.
"My place looks so beautiful. Oh thank you so much. I so appreciate what you people have done for me."
Glen was pleased as well. "That's what Kiwanis does, we help others."
My wife and I arrived home. I stripped off my paint drenched coveralls. I took off my paint splattered shoes and my surgical gloves. I still had paint on me, but it was all worth it. We did our part to help change the world, to make our world a little bit better than it was before.
How about you? I bet you can change the world too.