It began as a project for Women’s Service Day, to be accomplished by a group of volunteers in one day. But the planning team quickly realized that the Pathways MI Holland facility required more than a refresh. We were in for a major renovation–to create an environment that would be soothing for people that come to Pathways under duress, as well as the staff who work so hard to help them. Pathways works to provide loving homes for abused and neglected kids who end up in foster care. Michigan has approximately 13,000 children in foster care and, for those transitioning from foster care to adulthood, the statistics are hard to hear:
- 25% of them will be homeless.
- Within a year and a half, 84% will become parents.
- Half will be unemployed.
We need to change those statistics. Pathways provides life-transforming services to children, families, and our community to help create fulfilling and protected lives. And one way to help transform their lives is by transforming the space in which life-changing decisions and events occur. Women’s Service Day focused on three areas within the Holland facility for refurbishment on August 14: the lobby, the courtyard, and the landscaping flanking the entrance to the building. Here’s what these spaces looked like before the renovation.
Months before our event, a team worked with Pathways to define objectives: new paint and carpet were desperately needed in the lobby to take it from old hospital blue to a natured-inspired minty green. Furniture would be refurbished and new pieces would be purchased. The courtyard needed a crew that knew how to weed. And a landscaper was asked to donate plants for the front of the building. While the team worked on fundraising, organizations stepped forward with donations. Using their network, the Pathways renovation team found a landscaper who offered plants at discount. An interior designer worked tirelessly–even donating fabric she bought–to choose colors, buy paint and carpet tiles, find furniture, and arrange for reupholstery. Then, on the day of the event, a crew of volunteers arrived to remove old furniture (which went to a resale business), pull up carpet, sand the floor, spackle and paint, pull weeds, put in new plantings, and install the artistic birdhouses that now catch the eyes of everyone who can view the courtyard. Here’s how the Pathways MI Holland facility was transformed in just over a day.
The transformation has made a huge difference for the staff, who love to spend time in the lobby. (More renovations are in the plan for spaces they occupy in the rest of the building.) Clients are amazed when they come through the door. The Pathways Holland facility is an inviting, calming space that people are drawn to. Thank you to the donors of funds, talent, time, and gifts in kind, including Carol Rickey, Alyce Doss, Skyline Design, Cumberland Furniture, Westview Farms, Comfort Research, and Haworth, Inc., as well as all our Women’s Service Day 2014 volunteers.