Twelfth grader Amanda Brown is here with her paintbrush, kicking old habits. Amanda: It keeps me out of trouble after school because I stay here instead of being out in the street, you know.
That’s exactly what Ruth Lande Shuman hoped for when she started public color nearly twenty years ago. The non-profit goes into schools and helps students repaint the walls.
Ruth: Let them change their environment, they will own that school and they’ll have a sense of pride and they’ll start going.
Metropolitan Diploma Plus is a transfer school, a last chance for troubled students. Darren Bailey says he’s back on track now and the painting project has lifted his mood.
Darren: It gets a lot of kids together to do something positive. Public Color has worked in one hundred and forty-four New York schools. It’s hard to argue with the results here at Marteville School. These walls used to be covered in graffiti, it was one of the most dangerous schools in New York state.
Today it’s transformed and the fighting has stopped. Shuman has raised thirty million dollars to cover expenses including supplies, tutoring and scholarships and enlisting some of the biggest names in design.
Nicole: The results she’s had with these kids is just phenomenal. The kids who join stay in school 100%. They graduate with professional painting skills and access to college scholarships.
Ruth: Today there isn’t a public color student who isn’t seriously considering college, not one. Powerful proof these students are painting their way to brighter future.