Painting a Secure Future for Calgary Seniors

Propellus is pleased to work with employee volunteer groups to help facilitate a rewarding group volunteer experience. In partnership with City of Calgary, City Links, we offer the Paint the Town project. A fantastic group volunteer experience, where volunteers help up-keep a Calgary seniors home, which in turn, allows them to stay independent. 

As a whole, Calgary has a storied history – First Nations people, pioneers and cowboys are all celebrated parts of our city’s story, people pay to experience history at Heritage Park. Walking around downtown it is hard not to pass a piece of art depicting Calgary’s past or a preserved historical building.

Houses all throughout Calgary may not be protected sites, but they too have a history. Part of that  history includes being a new home – a new home with new occupants who would live out their whole lives within it. The families would celebrate Christmases and birthdays together in their home, the good times and the bad, all memories made while living there.

Families like Mrs. Piskos’* family. As a young woman Mrs. Piskos made the gutsy decision to move from Greece, to Canada. She originally landed in Regina, which is where she would meet and fall in love with her husband. When their children were still young the couple decided to move to Calgary where there was more opportunity.

Not long after arriving in Calgary with their children, the couple had saved up enough money to buy their first house, the house that Mrs. Piskos still lives in. Since her husband’s passing, it is also the house that she is having a hard time maintaining. It is also the home that got a facelift on Tuesday.

On August 20, a group of TransAlta retirees and current employees came out to Mrs. Piskos’ home in Killarney to paint her house and put a big smile on her face.

The TransAlta retiree group came in the morning to do the rolling work, painting the fence and the house, while the current employee group came in the afternoon to do the finishing work like the trim.

Patricia (Pat) Peterson and Marg Christensen are both a part of the energetic TransAlta retirees volunteer group, and have been painting seniors homes for 4 and 15 years respectively.

“Being retirees ourselves and having done this for 15 years, we have a good time,” says Peterson.

Christensen quickly adds, “It’s not that difficult when you’re with friends you can always chat while you’re painting.”

Tuesday’s project was actually planned for June, but with the flooding that hit the city, the date had to be changed. Both ladies said that the days experience was a great one, since the weather had decided to cooperate. “Work wasn’t too hard, my knees will be better in a week,” Peterson says with a laugh. While Christensen added that she thoroughly enjoyed the good food.

Through the Paint the Town project, Propellus has been connecting employee volunteer groups with the City of Calgary City Links program for 15 years. The goal of the Paint the Town projects is to enable seniors like Mrs. Piskos to remain in their homes by doing work for them that can be limited by their financial and physical restrictions.

Both Christensen and Peterson think that Paint the Town is an excellent group bonding experience.

“You hear lots of laughter, and lots of stories,” says Peterson. “Every once in a while I like to say to the fellows, ‘you’re having too much fun, you’re laughing too much, you’re enjoying this too much.’”

Group bonding is not the only upside for the volunteers, helping a senior stay at home where they want to be is a great feeling says Christensen. “The people we paint for, like the lady we painted for today, was are just so thankful, and that makes you feel good.”

Throughout the day, Mrs. Piskos was watching the progress on her house, and her very quiet accented voice could be heard while she entertained the volunteers, regaling them with stories of Greece, her kids, her husband, and her home.

She was talking about the impact the volunteers paint job had on her, when Mrs. Piskos’ voice got even quieter, but somehow stronger. “I thank everybody who ever helps me to retain that [her home], because by myself I couldn’t to it. I don’t have any other income; on a pension you cannot do a lot of work for pay.” Mrs. Piskos pauses for a moment, and her chin quivers with emotion before she continues.

“It makes me feel good to stay home and to live at home. I love my home. I raise my kids here, I buried my husband from here, and I like to stay as long as I can. I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart for what they are doing – I appreciate it very much.”

* name was changed


Propellus is pleased to work with employee volunteer groups to help facilitate a rewarding group volunteer experience. In partnership with City of Calgary, City Links, we offer the Paint the Town project. A fantastic group volunteer experience, where volunteers help up-keep a Calgary seniors home, which in turn, allows them to stay independent.

Boost Your Team. Paint the Town projects offer an excellent team building opportunity, while helping out the Calgary community. Paint the Town runs from May 27 – September 9, 2013 with a new project every Tuesday (or Thursday depending on weather)

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