Location: Columbus Global Academy, 4077 Karl Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43224
Tell me about the project and the organization.
I am the Coordinator at Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS) for a program called Community Connectors, which is a mentoring program for new American middle and high-school students. CRIS is a local non-profit that serves our growing refugee and immigrant population and offers a wide range of services from legal, employment, ESL (English as a Second Language), health and wellness, to youth services.
The mural project is part of the Community Connectors’ social engagement. We have painted six murals so far and anticipate painting and beautifying another five over the course of this year. The murals are a way for different communities to come together, paint, and have a good time. We usually partner with a local volunteer organization or company and are always welcoming new faces to paint and be part of our family!
How can someone volunteer with painting murals and your organization in general?
Jeremy contracted me to do the design, then help lead the implementation of the mural. We can do anything we want on this wall. The school said, “go for it.” I decided to do a space theme. The principal approved it once we submitted it, and here we are.
The mural process:
We have completed murals for Columbus City Schools, and mostly schools with a high refugee and immigrant population. With most of the murals, the kids have input on what goes up on the wall and they help us paint it. It is all paint by numbers. This is our first adult-only paint. This is only because it is summertime and the kids are on summer break. This is community-based. A lot of people can come out and paint. People who don’t know each other, people from all walks of life. When the kids are here, it is awesome. I think that’s what is great about these murals. It is just not one person putting it up, it’s a whole community coming together to do it.
What if a person wants to volunteer but they are concerned about messing up?
I would go in afterwards to fix it up. People usually do a pretty good job. When there are elementary students, I may need to fix it up. The kids are so much fun, so it’s worth it.
My take on Mural Painting at Columbus Global Academy:
I love this concept! Multiple organizations coming together to serve the community. Even if painting isn’t your “thing,” paint by numbers takes away that excuse. A couple of hours really makes a difference. But if painting REALLY isn’t your thing, there are many other projects that would welcome you with open arms. Nothing to it but to do it!