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00000173-eee8-d5ed-a373-feea21b10000Have your own personal story of giving and how it has affected you, your family, or your community? Share it with us at Maine Public by submitting your story — written or recorded — to rsvp@mainepublic.org.Below are stories coming in this year and previous posted submissions.Check back frequently.Enjoy!

Painting for a Purpose

About 5 years ago my wife and I moved to Maine from Massachusetts. I was looking for a way to make new personal connections and to get to know our new community so I joined the board of a local non-profit - “Painting For A Purpose”. The group is a made up of many teachers and artists who contribute their time to help raise funds that are in turn divvied out to young people in the metro Portland area in the form of mini-block grants.

The students of Portland Public Schools may apply for a grant if they have a unique idea about how to improve something in their community. They must have a parent or teacher mentor help them cultivate the plan and have a passion for the change they want to make. It is truly a joyous occasion to grant money to a young person who has thought about what their community may need to be better.

The subject of the grants range for students creating organic gardens at their school because they wanted healthier eating, to rebuilding their local playground in order that it become a hub of youthful energy again. We even had a very young student apply and get a grant to build a safe place for ferry gardens so that she and her fellow ferry garden builders could create their gardens unimpeded by older kids that wanted to destroy them.

Since joining Painting For A Purpose 5 years ago I have been present at numerous check giving ceremonies for young people who have successfully received grants. The look of pride in their faces is immense. The sense of accomplishment that these young people experience is hopefully one that will carry them through the next challenge they will have in their life. For me knowing that I played a small part in enabling their development from student to engaged citizen gives me immeasurable satisfaction. So by my giving to them I get back so much more in terms of making a difference in someone else’s life. My hope is that it creates an endless cycle of giving that sustains these young people throughout their lives.