Paint Your Heart Out Lakeland

Paint Your Heart Out Lakeland



The desire to help homeowners improve the appearance of their homes runs deep in the hearts of many local residents with a paintbrush and a willingness to commit to the community. Paint Your Heart Out Lakeland is a volunteer-driven nonprofit that enables individuals or groups (such as community residents, businesses, clubs, and organizations) to lend a helping hand by painting the homes of low-income, elderly, disabled, and veteran homeowners in our community.

The organization is made up entirely of volunteers. With no one on payroll, they are able to commit all resources to serving the community.

PYHO group photo with sign“PYHO Lakeland is a 100% volunteer organization that includes the eight of us on the board,” said Karen Schmidt, president of the organization. “We are not paid in any way. We rely on grants and donations. Besides having to buy liability insurance for the board, all of our money is spent on painting homes of eligible homeowners in the Greater Lakeland area each year.”

On March 15, several members of the Ledger Media Group staff and friends converged on a Lakeland property that needed a lick of paint and a promise of help for a local woman. Naomi Baratko, Barbara Graham, Kathy Woodruff, Chris Kilborn, Nanci Marsh, Barry Friedman, Debi Boyens, Rhonda Gentle, Michelle Dadey, Susie Green, Wayne Gunkel, Liz Perez, Rebecca Price, Sarah Nowman, Calvin Knight and Suzie Schottelkotte joined forces and participated in a Paint Your Heart Out Lakeland endeavor.

The Ledger Media Group has participated in PYHO for years, with many of the same colleagues coming together to help in the organization’s efforts. One member of this team was greatly missed; Nancy Graham Jump was honored at this year’s PYHO event. The company created a tribute for Nancy, who succumbed to breast cancer in 2013. Each member of the team, including Nancy’s sister, Barbara Graham, wore custom pink shirts to help raise awareness of breast cancer.

PYHO naomi-barbara-rhonda“Our dear friend will be looking down on us with a big smile and her blessing,” said Baratko of her friend, Nancy, who was always a big advocate for the project.

At the end of the day, all painters signed the poster and it was given to Nancy’s family.

Many who offer a hand with a Paint Day find the experience very rewarding. Donations help to fund Paint Day supplies and overhead for the volunteer organization. Residents can also nominate homes for the program.


For more information about Paint Your Heart Out Lakeland, please visit