Families will be able to enjoy the privacy they want and need now that renovations have been made to the Family Promise DayCenter thanks to a $160,000 Avedis Foundation grant.

Families will be able to enjoy the privacy they want and need now that renovations have been made to the Family Promise DayCenter thanks to a $160,000 Avedis Foundation grant.

Avedis Foundation CEO and President Michelle Briggs said when they first toured the facility there were four families sharing two rooms and there just wasn’t any privacy.

“The Avedis Foundation is honored to provide a grant to Family Promise for the addition of two bedrooms,” Briggs said. “After touring the Family Promise facility last spring and hearing about the families lives that they were touching, we were moved by their mission to help families with a "hand up" and we could see the immediate need for additional space at the facility.”

The DayCenter is owned and maintained in Shawnee at 39604 W. Independence. The converted house provides a day room and shower room for each family, laundry, phone, fax, and computer use, and address for the enrolled families. Each day transportation is provided to jobs, interviews, schooling, doctors, to the host church and to other appointments. The DayCenter also houses the Family Promise offices for the executive director and the office/case manager. Storage building, playground, and a storm shelter are also located at the DayCenter.

The large-scale construction and remodeling project at the DayCenter—done by Vallandingham Construction—included a conversion of the garage into two additional family guest rooms, each with fully equipped bath, shower and furniture to allow each family in the program to have day quarters of their own.

Family Promise Interim Executive Director Brandy Lester said the renovations were needed.

“With the renovations of the two room additions to the DayCenter, a family now does not have the embarrassment of having to clear a room while members of other guest families are getting changed or showering,” she said. “This renovation had added privacy in what once was a very public setting, used to two families had to share one room.”

Construction was also completed on a new storage building for supplies and donated home furnishings for guests as they exit the program. Prior to renovations, Family Promise stored those items in the garage that was converted to the additional rooms.

“The construction of the garage has allowed for Family Promise to utilize more storage space for home furnishings that are donated for our guests upon exit,” Lester said. “With the added space we are able to accept more donations of home furnishings to help ease the burden of families trying to replace or obtain household goods.”

Before construction began, the original house and property were gifted to Family Promise by the Pourchot family of Shawnee.

The DayCenter also had a makeover with the Avedis Foundation grant including a new Malarkey roof, fencing, siding and HVAC system. A new concrete driveway, parking and a carport for the organization’s van were also included.

“The investment that the Avedis Foundation has granted for us will help to ensure that we are making life a little less stressful, in an already stressful situation,” Lester said. “The improvements go beyond walls and rooms, and this we are very thankful for.”

Family Promise of Shawnee is an affiliate of the National Family Promise Network with 182 affiliates in 41 states. The mission of the Network is to help homeless and low-income families with children to achieve self-sustainable independence.

“We look forward to working with Family Promise in the future to assist them in their mission,” Briggs said. “They are a great organization quietly going about the business of helping families find employment and housing in a loving, kind and respectful way. Avedis is proud to be partners with them.”

Family Promise mobilizes faith communities to embrace displaced families. Homeless couples with at least one child, single mothers and fathers, and pregnant women are served. Children and their families are kept together, in school, and at work as they accomplish self-affirming independence. The program supports families with shelter, meals, transportation, and with many of life’s incidentals such as medical help, clothes, school supplies, and furniture. With this assistance in place, families work to save money, learn life skills as needed, and find their footing to graduate into their own housing. A six to 12 month program that teams trained mentors with former guests is offered to encourage further life growth.

This is accomplished through a network of churches, volunteers, and community support. On a rotating basis, 10 Host Churches provide hot evening meals and overnight hospitality. Helper and Support Churches supply additional volunteer and financial help. Local social service providers, schools, and churches refer homeless guests and various professionals and service organizations provide access to housing, employment possibilities, and other needs.