It was a sunny fall day, and Grace Courcelle, an eighth grader at Christ the King School in Rutland, could have been outside enjoying the sunshine and remainder of the red and yellow foliage, but instead, she was inside swishing a golden paint onto the brick wall of a hallway at St. Joseph/Kervick Residence.

“I like painting, and it’s a community service,” she said.
Grace and her mother, Annie Courcelle, were part of a group of about 25 volunteers from various segments of the community who volunteered for the first Day of Caring sponsored by the United Way of Rutland County. They came from Castleton University, recovery homes, The Richards Group insurance agency and the Rutland Catholic community.

They formed three teams to tackle three projects on Oct. 19: painting the large, lower-floor hallway at St. Joseph/Kervick; painting the dining room and a hallway across the street at Loretto Home and building a ramp for a Rutland homeowner.

The two eldercare homes in Rutland are operated by Vermont Catholic Charities Inc.
“This enhances life for the residents by bringing more color (to the dining room), and letting them know community members care so much about their quality of life means a lot to the residents and myself,” commented Erin Barry-Fenton, administrator of Loretto Home.

She estimated the volunteers saved the two eldercare homes “thousands” of dollars combined, funds that can instead be used for residents’ activities or needed equipment.

Dan Warnecke, associate director of United Way of Rutland County, said the Day of Caring was meant to help its “grantees” in ways other than financial. “It’s important to get the community involved and let the community know the United Way is more than a granting agency,” he added.

Cheryl Hooker, a parishioner of St. Peter Church across Convent Avenue from where she helped paint the hall at St. Joseph/Kervick, remembered the building when it was Mount St. Joseph Convent, the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rutland. She and her husband, George, a painting contractor, wanted to help with the Day of Caring because the residence is “such an important part of our community,” she said.

Warnecke said he hopes the Day of Caring will become an annual event: “We love to help the community!”
Grace, the Christ the King School student, said her parents, James and Annie, have taught her the importance of community service. “It’s always better to help than do nothing,” she said. “And people need our help,” her mother added.

For more information, call Warnecke at 802-773-7477 or go online to