BY KEVIN THOMPSON | PALM BEACH POST STAFF WRITER | SEPTEMBER 12, 2016
LAKE WORTH — Roger Louis is quite accustomed to holding a paint can and brush.
For the past three years, the 17-year-old Lake Worth High School senior has been painting frequently — mostly on sneakers, schools, even a gazebo.
But early Saturday morning, Louis, along with about two dozen other Lake Worth High School students, was painting something that normally doesn’t get that kind of makeover — a garbage can.
The students, all members of the school’s Interact Club and wearing Halloween orange T-shirts, spruced up close to 40 old R2-D2-looking trash cans and about 30 benches along Dixie Highway by giving them a much-needed fresh coat of paint.
“This,” Louis said, wiping sweat from his brow on an 89-degree day, “is a different kind of creativity.”
The Lake Worth Rotary Club was behind “The Great Lake Worth Can and Bench Project,” with big assists from city’s Neighborhood Association Presidents Council, Commissioner Andy Amoroso and the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency. The Rotary Club cut a deal with Sherwin-Williams Paint Store on North Dixie Highway, which offered a 50 percent discount on 20 gallons of paint.
Nadine Burns, club president, said the group spent $250 for paint and supplies. The cans were painted one of four colors — orange, green, purple, pink. If the colors look familiar, they should. Those are the same colors in the logo for LULA Lake Worth Arts, the nonprofit arts group.
“The club’s motto is, ‘If you can touch it, you can improve it,’” Burns said. “We want to demonstrate what a vibrant community we are.”
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office also got into the act by arranging to have all the cans pressure cleaned.
“You see so many negative images of the police,” said Michael Mahoney, a PBSO deputy. “It’s good for the kids to see something positive.”
The cans used to be downtown, but 10 years ago the city removed them, replacing the cans with new ones. The old cans were moved to Dixie Highway.
The students were served a McDonald’s breakfast before the project and taken to the Lake Worth Casino pool afterward for lunch and fun after a hard day’s work. Most of the kids said they had never been to a swimming pool before.
Despite the heat and the early hour — 7:30 a.m. — the kids said they enjoyed giving back to the community.
“I feel like I’m really doing something positive,” said Kayla Morning, 18. “I feel like a real teenager.”
Brenda Mendez, 17, said the city needs help.
“This will help Lake Worth look much prettier,” she said.
Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, the lone city commissioner at the event, had another reason for helping the kids.
“This is like therapy,” he said. “I do work for the city, you know.”
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