With paintbrushes, furniture and art supplies, as well as gardening tools and cleaning materials, about 50 volunteers from the Junior League of the Quad-Cities put some extreme home makeover skills to use Saturday.
The recipients of their efforts were the Family Resources Bridge House at the Annie Wittenmyer Complex in Davenport and the teenage girls who live there.
Stephanie Hernandez, the director of Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice programs at Family Resources, said Bridge House is a residential facility for at-risk girls between the ages of 12 and 17. The need was for a comfort room where, during times of stress and anxiety, the girls can go to collect their thoughts and gain control of their emotions, she added.
Hernandez said the women of the Junior League performed some magic with one of their famous Done-In-A-Day projects.
“We house up to 10 girls in this home,” Hernandez said. “The girls we work with here are victims of neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and they have behavioral issues related to that. Everyone responds differently to trauma.”
The Junior League’s Rebecca Robinson designed the comfort room, choosing its colors, carpeting and furniture.
“This was a bedroom,” she said. “I wanted it to look like a living room.” The girls of Bridge House helped with suggestions, she added.
The walls are now painted a nice greenish-blue, with matching carpeting and swivel rocking chairs.
Koester’s Linoleum Shop of Davenport donated the carpeting and padding for the floor.
“The colors and the furniture promote a feeling of calm,” Robinson said.
Pointing to one of the walls, she added, “We’re going to bring the girls in to do an artistic piece with a local artist.”
The room is full of sensory items such as a weighted blanket that has a calming effect as it rests on a person’s lap and a bunch of tie-pillows that the girls of Bridge House helped put together.
The swivel rocking chairs are a must since rocking and swiveling are proven ways to reduce stress and anxiety.
While the Junior League women worked inside, with some of them cleaning, some men who volunteered were tending to the gardens outside.
Other women helped the girls in the common room create an “I Am” wall on which positive words and phrases are posted.
“The girls were the ones who came up with the words for the wall,” the Junior League’s Laura Fontaine said.
The words and phrases can be seen by all of the girls each time they enter the house. The phrases include “Motivated” and “Powerful.” The words are reminders to the girls that they are special and can grow and work to be anything they choose to be, Fontaine added.
The girls of Bridge House also got a yoga session from Jennifer Vondracek of Yoga G in Davenport. And all of them got their nails and makeup done by the Junior League’s makeup gurus.
The Junior League is looking for more Done-In-A-Day projects, as well as donations to support its goals of community service and empowering women.
For more information, visit the organization's website at jlqc.org.