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How brightening spaces can lead to brightening minds this school year

By Sue Sloan, Executive Director, PPG Foundation

A child’s education is the gateway to a successful and promising future. It’s important for all of us to raise a hand and take a role in encouraging students to learn and grow, as our community’s youngest learners will create tomorrow’s next big innovations.

To do this, we have to continue to find ways to get local children excited about their education and make learning something they look forward to every day. One way to do this is to create unique and engaging settings for children to study and learn. These can include outdoor classrooms where children learn through nature; places like the Children’s Museum where young students are learning through play; libraries where helpful volunteers create fun-filled reading programs; and colorful and vibrant learning environments that lift spirits and inspire curiosity.

At PPG, we know the power that color has to impact moods and transform environments. In fact, specific colors can create different feelings and inspire different behaviors. Red is known to be energetic and strong; blue promotes communication and reflection; green creates balance; orange is fun; and yellow is seen as optimistic and creative. When these vibrant, vivid colors replace faded walls, we can transform learning environments into more engaging spaces perfect for mentoring, classroom experiences, reading, educational fun and more.

Through PPG’s Colorful Communities initiative, we proudly partnered with United Way to create more colorful learning environments across the city. Dozens of PPG employees have stepped out into their communities, selected cheerful PPG paint products, and volunteered their time to renovate classrooms and corridors in schools and community organizations in order to provide more engaging educational spaces.

While creative, bright spaces provide a vital backdrop in which to learn, it’s equally important to stimulate children’s minds with creative activities and learning opportunities.  At PPG, we support educational programs in subjects related to science, technology, engineering or math, focusing on fun hands-on activities and real-world, problem-solving opportunities that both challenge students and motivate them to learn.

As community members and neighbors, there are many ways we can contribute to creating vibrant learning environments to enhance the education of tomorrow’s leaders.

  • Connect with local schools. Work with United Way, provide books for kids or contact a school near you to see how you can lend your time and talent to help their young learners grow.
  • Consider non-traditional learning environments. You can help excite students at the library or an after-school program. Learning opportunities outside of school are just as important as the classroom.
  • Serve as a mentor. Mentoring is key to a student’s success. Many children in our community may not have an adult role model to provide guidance and advice. You could be that person for a local student in need. Be a Middle School Mentor this year.
  • Become a tutor. If you’re a math whiz, reading genius or even just a good studier, you could help a local kid reach their goals. While many students might dread doing out-of-school tutoring, you could find creative ways to make this learning opportunity exciting and fun.

We make our communities stronger and brighter when we work together to create engaging educational opportunities for young learners.  Whether a student is sitting in a classroom, attending an after school program, or working with a mentor, we can all play a role to help ensure they are engaged and excited to continue their education and reach for a bright future.