I wish I could bottle the love and energy I felt this month when I visited Waukegan, Illinois, as over 600 volunteers came together to give their community a face lift. There is nothing quite like getting together with friends, and complete strangers (who become friends) to work towards improving the lives of others.
I worked side by side with folks who want to make our world a better place. That’s sweeter than any activity that I could do on my own. One of my passions is seeing wonderful old things, refurbished and brought back to life. We brought 28 buildings new life by painting their exteriors. Waukegan’s downtown is like many other cities. It’s seen many businesses move to malls.
But there’s an amazing resurgence of energy and activity, with great businesses refurbishing her own buildings and art galleries sprouting to life and great restaurants and nightlife all around. It inspires renovation and motivated me to spend the weekend with my friends from The Home Depot and Behr Paints. They contributed all the supplies and thousands of gallons of paint.
What I treasured most about the time together are the friends I made – from the operator of a florist store to the woman starting a new theatre to the countless artists that lent their creativity to the dozens of city employees and elected officials that made it all possible.