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Paint the Town
Paint the Town

Volunteer FAQs

What is Paint the Town?

Paint the Town is a one-day event that gathers hundreds of volunteers to paint houses in a Greater Cincinnati neighborhood. Since the first Paint the Town in 2000, the group has painted nearly 500 houses in neighborhoods all over Greater Cincinnati.

Who’s behind Paint the Town?  

Paint the Town is a project of Give Back Cincinnati, a volunteer group of young professionals that focuses on one-day, large-scale events that have major impacts on the community. The all-volunteer Paint the Town steering committee works with dozens of sponsors and community groups to plan the event.

How are neighborhoods selected?

There are a number of fantastic Cincinnati-area communities. We look to work with those that have active neighborhood councils that support the project by helping to distribute applications, engage the community, and assist with permitting, etc.

How are the houses chosen?

Residents complete applications to have their houses painted starting in January. Applications ask questions to assess need, income level, and scope of work required. These are distributed through community businesses and neighborhood organizations as well as churches and schools. Typically the application period ends mid February to early March. Committee members then interview applicants and select homes based on physical or financial need, feasibility, and the impact our volunteers’ efforts would have on the community.

Is it OK if I volunteer with my child?

We do have very limited volunteer opportunities for children.  Unfortunately, no volunteers under 18 are permitted at the houses. We’ll be working with ladders, scrapers and other equipment at Paint the Town. To ensure safe worksites for all our volunteers, we cannot permit those under age 18 at the homes. However, we would love help with parking direction in the morning, delivering lunches and sorting of supplies at return. We can accept volunteers over the age of 10, with the presence of a parent or other adult at the volunteer site. Your child’s safety is very important to us.

Please contact [email protected] to volunteer for specific times and tasks. We would be happy to accommodate parents and their children to help with these tasks.

Can I volunteer for half the day?

Due to the nature of the event, we’re not able to accommodate half-day painting volunteers. Please plan to spend the entire day with us. Volunteers must attend morning registration (you’ll get directions the week before the event) to get their house assignment, sign a waiver and hear announcements. Buses transport volunteers to their assigned houses. Lunch is provided on-site. Because of the number of volunteers helping out, we’re not able to transport individual volunteers throughout the day.

However, we are looking for general volunteers for specific tasks, such as set up, parking direction, registration, lunch delivery, supply sorting at return, after party help (serving food and drinks), and after party clean up. Opportunities for adult volunteers, including areas and times, will be posted with the online registration. Opportunities for volunteers age 10-17 will be posted online, but you’ll need to contact [email protected] to volunteer for specific times and tasks, since there will be no online registration for minors.

Can I drive myself to my team’s house?

Unfortunately not. For many reasons, volunteers are not allowed to drive themselves to their team’s house. First, parking is tight in many of the neighborhoods. Your team lead and other event organizers will need to park at the house, and we want to leave the neighbors some parking spots, as well.

Second, we will be using many tall ladders, and they don’t mix well with cars. The more room we have to maneuver ladders, the better, and we can avoid accidentally installing a moon roof in your vehicle.

Third, who doesn’t want to ride a big yellow school bus? If you’re first on, you can sit in the back with the cool kids or even be a back-seat safety … oh, the power.

Should I volunteer if I don’t want to climb a ladder?

Yes! There’s plenty of “low” work to do at Paint the Town. When you register on our website, just indicate the ladder height you’re comfortable with. If you are a general volunteer, we may steer you toward a house without lots of high ladder work.

 What if I don’t have a “team” to paint on?

No problem! If you’re a “general” volunteer for Paint the Town, you might work alongside corporate team members, you might work on a house whose sponsor hasn’t provided a team, or you might work on a house Give Back Cincinnati sponsored.

Can I sign up to work with my friend?

Yes. If you’re registering with a corporate team, make sure you all select that team when you register. If you’re not registering with a team, you’ll be able to sign up for the same house on the morning of the event. Please note, this house sign-up is first come, first serve, so you won’t be able to roll in with a crew of your closest 20 friends and all be on the same house… but we can accommodate small groups, plus meeting new people is part of the fun of the day!

What should I wear and bring with me to volunteer?

Wear clothes you don’t mind getting paint on, including shoes that cover your whole foot (no sandals or flip-flops). Wear a hat to shade your face from the sun and keep paint off your hair. Definitely bring sunscreen (you can put it in a backpack to set on the porch or lawn). You’ll want a little money and your driver’s license in your pocket for the after party, but lock the rest of your valuables in your car. Every volunteer will be provided with a t-shirt to wear with all of the sponsor logos on it.

Where should I park?

Volunteers will park in a central location that will be communicated by e-mail before the event, then assemble nearby for house sign-ups and announcements. We’ll e-mail you the meeting location, times, driving directions and all those details several days before the event.

What about breakfast and lunch?

Breakfast (with coffee) will be available during registration. Lunch will be delivered to you at your house, and houses also will have snacks and water. If you have any special dietary needs, please plan to bring your own lunch.

How can I get more involved in Paint the Town?

So glad you asked! It takes a lot of people to make Paint the Town happen. Steering committee members meet once a month starting in October and more frequently from February through June. They also interview Paint the Town applicants. Many steering committee members also have subcommittees to take on some of the planning. Paint the Town team leads work with the homeowners to plan for the big day, then provide on-site leadership on the day of Paint the Town. If you are interested, e-mail us at [email protected].

What if my schedule changes and I’m no longer available on the day of Paint the Town?

If you find you can no longer be part of Paint the Town, please e-mail [email protected] as soon as possible.