Armed with brushes, rollers and buckets of paint and enthusiasm, nearly 120 volunteers transformed a school outside of Santiago during our first-ever COLORFUL COMMUNITIES® project in Chile. Oscar Lazarte Arredondo, commercial manager for Protective and Marine Coatings (PMC) in Chile, and Alberto Guzmán Véliz, commercial director for Chile, led the milestone event.
Chile Team: Small in Numbers, Big on Results
We entered Chile in 2007, and today we have nine employees representing five businesses in the South American country – Architectural Coatings, Automotive Refinish, Industrial Coatings, Packaging Coatings and PMC.
“Our team in Chile is small but very strong and collaborative. Each business is totally different from the others, bringing us new challenges every day.” Oscar
Chile’s coatings market is complex due to the presence of PPG and other global brands. The country also has tariff advantages, zero taxes and the world’s largest network of trade agreements, which allows it to import or export nearly 90% of the world’s gross domestic product.
“This generates a dynamic environment, making our work challenging and fascinating at the same time. The pillars of The PPG Way are our beacon, guiding us on a path to deliver the best of our company to customers.” Alberto
Pictured: Oscar (on the left) and Alberto (on the right)
Volunteers Seeking Other Volunteers for Long-Term Commitment
That commitment also extends to the community. The recipient of our first Colorful Communities project in Chile was the Ciudad de Brasilia School near the Santiago suburb of Pudahuel, where our office is located. This was also our first collaboration with the school, which serves 550 students from preschool through high school and had not been revitalized since its construction in 2013.
With Oscar’s arrival at the company in 2020, Alberto shared that he found a perfect partner for Colorful Communities projects and other activities that involve supporting our communities.
The duo’s first challenge was broadening the volunteer base beyond our nine in-country employees. Oscar and Alberto approached Bodegas San Francisco, which is a company that operates in the same building as our Chilean office, to partner on the project. Community members, school staff and the student’s parents rounded out the corps of nearly 120 volunteers. Fabricio Vieira, our Automotive Refinish and PMC director for Latin America South, also traveled to Chile to attend the event.
Painting a Brighter Learning Environment
Under a sunny sky, the volunteers prepped and painted the school’s courtyard and exterior walls in a color palette of bright blue and green. They used 270 liters (71 gallons) of donated RENNER™ paint by PPG to create a colorful and inspirational learning environment.
Prior to the event, the school had conducted a student mural contest. The volunteers painted the winning design, which featured children in a natural landscape, on one of the school’s exterior walls.
Transforming Buildings Changes Lives
Beyond transforming a school, the event also changed the people who were involved.
“It was a great challenge to conduct our first Colorful Communities project since we are a small team in Chile. I learned that with effort and dedication, everything is possible. Experiencing the emotion of the children when they saw their colorful school also taught me that every effort is absolutely rewarded.” Oscar
Some volunteers expressed their joy with the project and indicated it had pushed them to become more involved in their own communities.
“I saw firsthand the importance of having a purpose. We all have the desire and motivation to help, but what’s often missing are the people, organizations and leaders who give us that purpose to work toward. This project provided that purpose, filling us with pride at being part of the great PPG family and motivating us to continue our work in the community.” Alberto