Girl Scouts renovate playroom for Rogers Park women’s and children’s shelter

On February 7, 2014, 7th grade Girl Scouts from Troop 41302 met to discuss their Silver Award project. The girls decided to offer a women’s and children’s shelter assistance to paint a playroom with an inspiring message.

They had considered planting a garden in the Chicago schools or helping Inner City schools with a book drive. The troop considered two shelters to offer help, starting with Good News Partners New Life since two of the girls had previous experience tutoring math there.

Director, Ms. Schona Buranda, was overjoyed with the offer of help, feeling the timing was a blessing. Additional Girl Scouts from 40423, 40916, and 41752 joined over the 6 month planning window. The girls designed a playroom for the shelter residents with input from the children living at the shelter.

At the end of the 6 months of planning, Evanston resident Dana Teeter joined the project for implementation. The shelter residents helped push the items in the room into the center to prepare for paint. The girls, along with two siblings and a few parents, painted the room with one soft color of sky blue. The paint, spackle, and supplies were donated by Home Depot Evanston. The girls added a mural centerpiece with a forest theme with the guidance of Mr. Leroy Cox, local artist.

New IKEA furniture was purchased with sponsorship from local Wilmette residents and businesses, including Valley Lodge Tavern, Antiques & Jewelry by Barats, de Guilio Kitchen Design, Depot Nuevo, Al’s Meats, Elfriede’s Hair Salon, and Kronos Gyros. The girls assembled the IKEA furniture.

A flat screen, a blue-ray player, and mounting bracket with shelving will be donated by Sam’s Club Evanston. The store’s community focus this year is women’s empowerment which fits well with the shelter’s purpose and goals, per Store Manager Brian Leclar and Membership Manager Aaron Matney. Mr. Leclar and Mr. Matney will visit the shelter to formally present the donation to the shelter (scheduled for w/o 7/21 or 7/28).

Part of the project included space optimization so the room would be inviting and functional for the children to use with less supervision. This playroom is now an oasis, an inviting space for the children to lay on the carpet, sit in chairs or a beanbag, draw on a table surface, play a game, and other imaginative activities. The kids can now enjoy in the room so many little activities, essential ingredients for the children to develop critical social and mental skills.

Near the end of the project, the girls were telling each other that this project at the shelter was truly rewarding.

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