On any given day you can see a group of young men driving through Winton looking for graffiti defacing the walls and fences of their town. What makes young men get up and be at ‘work’ at 8 am to clean up graffiti?
Instrumental in this was a young man who wanted to give back to the community. He connected with Winton LifeLine Community Center and his enthusiasm, leadership ability and passion soon led him to be surrounded by young men who were on the verge of being gang members, young men who were taggers themselves, young man who were looking for a role model they could follow.
At 28 A. had done his share of damage in the community. When he missed yet another birth of one of his children, because he was incarcerated, he decided that it was time to change. And a huge change it was!
Now he helps young men to make better choices, helps them to see some of the consequences of his past actions. Now he spends his mornings driving around with a bucket of paint and 4 or 5 people in tow.
In the conversations about the graffiti he found out that these young people do not have a place to display their art work… so we asked for a ‘legal’ graffiti wall. They met with the Historical Society to learn about the community and they are partnering with some artists to create a mural that will be based on certain themes.
Through A’s involvements walls are broken down. Seniors who are heading up a group are now interacting with young people and they learn from each other. Neighbors are asking how they can help. The owner of one of the walls took a bucket of paint and his helping with it.
When young and old care for something, when rich and poor have the same interest at heart and when together they act to make things better we get to see a glimpse of God’s SHALOM present in a community.