Although the weather was dismal and uncooperative – the work that took place inside of Hartford-based Salvation Army Marshall House was transformational. On Saturday, June 2nd, 25 students and leaders of Ellington Congregational Church’s high school mission group, TELOS, embarked on a major initiative to make the Marshall House, a family shelter, more inviting and less institutional.
The youth group, who spent their entire Saturday (9am-4pm) beautifying the facility, were divided into two groups. Half of the team painted the dining room and the other, the very lengthy hallway. All bulletin boards were pulled down so that the students could properly paint the walls that were once cream colored. They scrubbed the walls and applied two fresh coats of a subtle lemon – which turned out to be very invigorating and uplifting. While the paint was being applied in the hallway, the other half of the team painted the dining room using three different colors. The doors were painted brown, the upper portion of the walls a caramel color, and the paneling which occupies the bottom portion of the wall was painted white. It was truly a huge undertaking that initially appeared to be a walk in the park.
After lunch, the hallway team returned ready to create murals. Because Hands On Hartford staff encountered problems with the projector (intended to project the images on the walls) the youth group had to draw the images free hand – which is a piece of cake when you’ve got an arsenal of talented artistic youth! The team drew three impressive and massive floor to ceiling murals that had a tree motif. The muralists were so engaged with their work that when it was time to wrap up, they missed reflection and almost missed their bus. That’s how dedicated this group of youth was to completing the task presented to them. At the close of the day, we concluded with a reflection activity that included writing inspirational note cards to the residents of the shelter and delivering them.
By the conclusion of the project, the sun came out and the light from the sun paled in comparison to the warmth that shone through the beautiful work completed inside. Thanks to Generation On for supplying wristbands, that served as mementos, for the occasion. And special thanks to TELOS, an amazing group of diligent students with incredible stick-to-itiveness, for providing nearly 180 volunteer hours to Marshall House!