Youth center gets new coat of paint, plus funding for summer programs

PPG employees today painted the State Street Project youth center at 1017 N. 9th St., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo)

More than 30 PPG employees converged on the State Street youth center today to add a fresh coat of paint.

They also left a $20,000 check for a 10-week summer program and camp in science, technology, engineering, and math for about 100 youth at the youth empowerment center at 1017 N. 9th St., Kansas City, Kansas, as part of the PPG Colorful Communities initiative.

The center selected bright and vibrant colors for the painting project, giving the center a new energy.

About 15 youth were at the center today participating in the check presentation ceremony. They also were involved in a soccer game in the gym in the building.

Tawnya Metzler-Martinez, co-founder of the State Street Project, said the youth make many of the decisions at the center, and many of the programs are created by youth.

The goal is for the youth to find a positive place where they can grow into healthy adults, she said. The focus of the programs fall into five categories, she said, including housing, hunger, health, education and economic development.

The State Street Project started in an apartment about eight years ago, and “we never thought we would have a building like this,” Metzler-Martinez said.

Leslie Johnson of PPG first recognized that State Street could use a colorful coat of paint, according to Thomas Maziarz, PPG vice president.

Those attending today’s check presentation event included Unified Government Commissioner Brian McKiernan; Chuck Schlittler, director of the Downtown Shareholders; and Sandra Olivas with the Bank of Labor.

Besides 30 PPG volunteers at the center today, a painting contractor, Ryan Toelkes of Neighborhood Painting in Piper, was working on the project with two associates. Toelkes got all the lockers ready and did the prep work for the project.

Many years ago the building housed the Kansas City, Kansas, High School, Toelkes said.

PPG launched a worldwide initiative donating $10 million during 10 years to communities in which they operate, and this is one of the projects in its Colorful Communities initiative, according to a spokesman.

The State Street Project youth center today received a new coat of paint and also a donation of $20,000 for summer programs from PPG employees. (Staff photo)

The State Street Project youth center sports a colorful interior after 30 PPG employees gave their time to paint it. (Staff photo)

PPG employees worked throughout the State Street Project building to give it a fresh look today. (Staff photo)

The State Street Project youth center selected vibrant colors for its new look, and PPG employees painted the center today. (Staff photo)

Tawnya Metzler-Martinez, co-founder of the State Street Project, said the youth design many of the programs there. (Staff photo)


Ryan Toelkes of Neighborhood Painting in Piper was the contractor for the project. (Staff photo)

Youth played soccer in a gym at the State Street Project youth center. (Staff photo)

Tawnya Metzler-Martinez, second from right, received a $20,000 check for summer programs from PPG at a ceremony today. On the right is Thomas Maziarz, PPG vice president, and on the left is Kim Walton, PPG director of sales. (Staff photo)

The State Street Project youth center is at 1017 N. 9th St., Kansas City, Kansas, at the site of the old Kansas City, Kansas, High School. (Staff photo)

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