SYFS interns spruce up building to say thanks
By Rebecca Kensil, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Seven Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services (SYFS) graduate-level interns from two colleges painted the nonprofit’s hallway and one office April 6 as a way to offer thanks to the organization for the knowledge and experience they gained while working there.
Several Home Depot employees also gladly donated time, breakfast food, and supplies to help the students paint.
SYFS interns typically leave a gift with the agency after about a year of unpaid internship, according to Tom Kennedy, the interim executive director. The seven interns included Amy Alves and Samantha VanRiper from Simmons College and Lauren Kisiel, Catherine Mills, Marguerite Pierre, Meghan Wood, and Amanda Thomas from Assumption College.
Mills came up with the idea to paint the building interior.
“It really needed to be spruced up,” she said. “It was sort of outdated.”
Kennedy agreed, noting the hallway was “white and faded.”
The students began to plan the project in January so that they could finish in spring. In April they took off time from work to come in one Saturday to paint. The Home Depot crew arrived at SYFS early that morning with coffee and donuts for everyone, according to Kennedy. They spent three hours painting, and then the interns finished spent another two hours moving furniture and re-hanging pictures. Thomas also took a table home and spray-painted it black.
“We all picked up a brush and did what we could,” Kisiel said. “I don’t think any of us had that much experience, but we cleaned. We worked really hard. It was amazing to see the Home Depot crew who didn’t know us a few hours before and maybe hadn’t been to our agency, but they jumped right in and got more paint and did what they could. It was nice to see outsiders care so much about it, which made our level of interest in caring about it increase too.”
After they finished painting, the interns, clients, and staff agreed on the improved atmosphere.
Kennedy said, “It just makes it so much warmer and welcoming.”
He praised the community effort.
“They were superb with it, not only the interns, but the folks from Home Depot, which was wonderful,” he said.
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