A touch of home in a safe haven

It is hard to imagine, but there are still many women and children that suffer from domestic violence. Near the Surface Chemistry site in Morris, Illinois, a safe haven for these victims was created, called The Guardian Angels Home. There are twenty bedrooms, and each woman and her children are allowed to stay for a maximum of 45 days. Since the Home is State regulated, and they solely rely on foundations funding them, they do not get a lot of money to do extras. It is for this reason that our colleagues in Morris decided to give one bedroom a more welcoming appeal.

The bedrooms are pretty basic, very small, painted white, with a bed and some type of small table. The room the volunteering employees from Surface Chemistry worked in had a built-in cabinet with drawers for clothes.

With support from the Community Program 6 specially made mattresses were purchased. Luckily our colleagues found one mattress store close that was able to have their factory make them especially for this purpose. They had a plastic coating put on them, so they are easily cleaned. Also all new bedding was purchased, along with pictures for the walls, a couple of throw pillows, a rug, and a new nightstand. As the window was very high and narrow, the blinds had to be custom made, along with a valance.

The volunteering employees cleaned and painted the room in a light purple, with brown trim around the door. The built in cabinet was wood, so they cleaned and waxed it, along with the door- and window frame. The blinds and valance were hung, along with the pictures. The bed was put back together with a new mattress and new bedding. To make the whole exercise complete, new floor mats for the entrance way and foyer were bought and installed.

‘This might not sound like a very big project to some, but we found it to be rewarding to make a room feel a little bit more like home to someone who is a victim and has no where else to go’, said Linda Descher, one of the volunteers involved. Taking into account that in one month only some 200 battered women and children rotate in and out the Guardian Angels Home, the creation of a touch of home in a safe haven will certainly be appreciated and hopefully this action will inspire others to give more rooms a similar makeover.