Saturday, August 20, 2011

First Step: VIPs

Lottie joined us for a day when asked at the last minute to help us get the floor finished and meet our goal. 

 Marie fed us two days. We are still taking about her salads in jars.  So creative...and delicious.

 We called Kris "the beast" because she is just unstoppable. She wrestled the floor sander for hours and did not stop laying tile until she put the last tile into place.

 Dawn saved the centerpieces when the cans rusted and it came through the fabric. She also took on the job of trash removal, and it was constant.

 LeeAnne, women's ministries director at CBC, our home church, kept one eye on us through the whole process and continually prayed for us.

 Ladies from our church really came through by baking us homemade desserts for our bead soup party. ..more than we hoped for or expected.

Bridget fed us Tuesday with the best chicken salad we ever ate. She also made cupcakes and a chocolate layer cake for the party. She put in some serious baking time!

 Sue took care of us all week, making sure we had things we needed and wanted. She worked tirelessly in the background and everything magically appeared!

Kathy is the energizer bunny. She sees something that needs to be done, and she does it.

 Veronica spent hours organizing the donations we received for the activities cabinet. She wanted it to be easy to access and stored so it made sense to someone opening the doors.

 Ilene is the volunteer coordinator at First Step. She was our "go-to" person for the project. Her excitement was contagious.

 Ailsa is not comfortable with even small heights. But, she saw that we were pushing to get the room painted by our deadline, and she perched on top of the ladder to help cut in at the ceiling.

 Management at First Step. We spent some time talking to them...well, actually asking lots of questions about the facility and why it is needed. They have huge hearts for abused women. You could read the compassion on their faces.

 The girls of the junior class at Plymouth Christian Academy in Canton. They pitched in and donated art supplies and activity items for the cabinet.  

 Kathy did the majority of the painting. While the rest of us broke off to tend to other details, she kept painting until it was finished.

 Tami braved the floor sander first thing. It had a mind of its own, but she did not give up until she conquered it.

We had problems getting the flooring on time, but the store owner managed to get it and send it directly to the jobsite. A young man showed up and carried in 21 very heavy boxes. Then he refused the money I tried to give him.

 The women residents of First Step came to our bead soup party. They made bracelets and ate desserts. It took a bit for them to warm up to us, but eventually, they opened to us and began to smile and chat.

So many more people were a part of this project: our families, those who supported it financially, those who prayed for us, those who donated items for the activity cabinet, those who came to bead soup parties , and everyone who encouraged us with their interest, great advice, and emotional support.

The biggest encouragement of all was watching the way God called each if us to our specific parts, and the way He was obeyed and the parts all came together.

Because of each and every one of you, the project was a success.  Thank you!

Friday, August 19, 2011

First Step Before and After

The transformation!
The room was being used as a training room before we got there. All of the office furniture went away. We took out the carpet.  

That wall now has a doodle mural.

This door leads to the outside entryway and door. Anyone can come in, so when the residents moved into the facility, these windows and door got covered by plastic. Taped on. It did nothing to enhance the look of the new room.

But this morning, a super duper guy came and professionally installed this frosting on the glass.  So much better than plastic and tape.

There are two large windows on the front wall.  They have very nice shades that you can see through from the inside to the outside. You cannot see in from the outside. 

We added curtains, just for looks... and a bit of art.  Blue tones were chosen for the walls because the study of color psychology tells us that blues and greens are calming. Calming sounded good for a dining room for 50 people.

This door leads to the public spaces of the building, and the staff offices. When the residents moved in and the windows needed covering, we found construction paper taped over them. Functional, but not comfy.

Now those small side windows are frosted and painted.

This opens to a white board.

It is now a chalkboard. The menu of the day or week can be written on it.

This long wall backs up to the kitchen on the other side.

This long wall now has cupboards.  Dishes, cups, glasses and utensils are inside. The tops are aluminum. They will be used for serving food. Because they are on wheels, they can be used other places in the building, or to reconfigure the room for other purposes. The two left side cupboards are stocked with activities. The room will be used a s a family room/activity room when people are not eating in it. There are now plenty of games and books and art supplies to be used.

The wall has a gallery of art pieces...and rules.

Our prayer is that we left this space more functional and comfortable and that the families living there will gather and make a community.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Step Day 4

 Today was beautification day. That means the pieces are finished and we put it all together. When we worked in the room, it seemed huge. And it is. It is 900 square feet.  But as we put in tables and chairs for 50 people, it began to feel smaller and more crowded. So, our challenge is to make the space less institutional, more homey, comfortable, and functional, and arranged so it can be navigated by 50 people carrying food.

 Love these round tables. It was an exercise in geometry to get them through the door and into the room.

 Thirty cans of black beans turned into table centerpieces. Fabric and ribbons add color and a homey touch.

 It just happened to work out that there was a management staff meeting in the building this morning. When they were finished, they came in to the dining room to see what we had done. The big reveal! This is a big part of the payoff for us. To see their faces, hear their comments, and even see some tears was a blessing to us. They like it, they really like it!  :)

 Later in the afternoon, we had a bead soup/dessert party with the residents of the shelter and some of the staff. Women from church volunteered desserts.

 We could have opened a bakery. We had homemade baked goods to die for. 

 Folks from church also donated items for us to fill the activity cupboard. Not only did they fill a cupboard, they filled TWO cupboards. Nearly one whole cupboard-ful was donated by the art students of Plymouth Christian Academy. High school students, amazing kids! When the residents are not using the room as a dining room, it will be an activity center. They now have games, books, some art materials, coloring books, and puzzles to keep them occupied.

The ladies definitely enjoyed bead soup. And it gave us a chance to visit with them. Most were pretty reserved. And it is no wonder. We heard some very frightening stories about violence. Most of us have never had to worry about being safe. These women have had their hair ripped out, bones broken, and shotguns pointed at them by their husbands. 

So, in the end, we definitely provided some encouragement to the staff, who have huge hearts for these women and their issues. We pray that we were also able to offer some encouragement to the residents of the shelter. There is no doubt that we, Divine Design, have been encouraged and blessed.