Sunlight Painting & Trade School is both a commercial business and a social enterprise. Our goal is to deliver outstanding painting services and provide excellent customer service at a fair and reasonable price.

But we believe there's more to the painting business than painting itself.

Sunlight Painting is on a mission to help young adults of any background learn a trade and obtain fulfilling employment.


In a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment, we help young adults with challenging circumstances learn professional trade skills and develop personal skills on a path to fulfillment in work and in life.


  • Learn a trade (currently, house painting apprenticeships are offered, with other trades to be added).
  • Avoid gangs and criminal activity.
  • Prevent drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Find emotional support and spiritual guidance.
  • Participate in group sessions and 1-to-1 mentoring. 
  • Discover meaning in work and in relationships.
  • Experience life with increased self-awareness and renewed hope.
Business people often talk about ‘giving back to the community,’ but how many of us actually do that? Raul is motivated to help any young person with a sincere desire to work hard, learn, and be a team player. The circumstances of your background don’t matter. Here you’ll find a supportive environment and mentors who understand where you’ve been.
— Volunteer


Growing up in Richmond, California, Raul Garcia was no stranger to challenging circumstances. Despite having a loving and supportive family, as a teenager he experienced gang life and periods of incarceration. He often thought he wanted to change, but he felt unable to do so. At age 19, fearing he might be separated from his family forever, Raul resolved to change his life for good.

After leaving his past firmly in the past, Raul took on a number of restaurant and hotel jobs and discovered how much he enjoyed working with people. The highlight of his customer service career was a prominent sales position with Coca-Cola.

When he wasn't busy working, Raul became a coach for the Richmond Sol soccer club and spent several years teaching young players "the beautiful game." Years later he ran a summer camp and found joy in teaching kids activities he hadn't experienced as a child.

The year 2003 was another turning point in Raul's life. Encouraged by an acquaintance, and by earlier experience assisting his father with carpentry and maintenance work, Raul decided to try residential and commercial painting.

The best part was the looks on people’s faces when the job was truly happy they were to see their house or business restored and brought back to life.”
— Raul Garcia, Sunlight Painting

And as they say, the rest is history! Through hard work, Raul became a professional painter, and with his attention to quality and customer service, he's been "painting people happy" ever since.

Raul and his team want to inspire young people from challenging backgrounds to learn the life skills and trade skills they can use to build a better future — for themselves and for the community.

You can help by becoming a community partner, sponsor, or volunteer for the trade school. Please contact us if interested.