When Nadi Design does a Day of Caring they go big.
Last week the architectural design firm Nadi Design rallied six partner organizations for a Day of Caring which turned into a week and completely transformed the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre (FGWRC) on Ellen Street.
Andrea Shnider, program coordinator at FGWRC, was only expecting a coat of paint when she signed on for a United Way Day of Caring.
“I wasn’t expecting a lot, but magic happened. I’m still in awe as I look around,” Andrea said.
“Instead of just paint, Nadi Design said ‘oh yeah, we’re going to do carpeting and landscaping and furniture and a TV.”
FGWRC on Ellen Street provides counselling for children who are healing from trauma. Two child therapists help an average caseload of 35 children who each receive about four months of therapy. Rooms dedicated to art and music therapy help with the process.
Andrea said prior to the Day (week!) of Caring the centre was dim and dark, with furniture falling apart and holes in the walls.
“It was not super child-friendly.”
A Community Engagement Committee at Nadi – made up of interior design intern Alexandra Allen, interior designer Ashley Jull, and landscape architectural intern Danielle Loeb – chose the FGWRC project from a few options United Way gave them.
“We wanted to use our design expertise, and wanted to take it one step further and move to the outside,” said Alex.
“We felt we had the ability to change the entire place.”
Alex said the important work done at the FRWRC also appealed to the team.
“It’s a space where children need to feel safe, healthy, valued and empowered. By giving them that space – where they feel good and relaxed – it helps FGWRC in supporting women and children.”
The Nadi team rallied a group of partners in the construction and renovation industries. Barkman Concrete was one of the first on board, pledging materials and labour to refurbish a shoddy-looking patio area with maintenance-free Verano paving stone.
“When Danielle from Nadi approached me I was all over it,” said Anthony Militano, a commercial product consultant at Barkman.
“Something as simple as concrete adds an inherent value. It’s something so simple, but it adds beauty,” Anthony said.
The work was hard, but the reward of helping makes it worthwhile.
“It’s rewarding knowing you’ve done some good, and also it brightens up the lives a little of the people using the centre. If you can brighten up someone’s life even in a small way it’s totally worth it,” Anthony said.
A team from Prairie Safety Surfacing applied Rubaroc – a synthetic rubber material they wet-poured onto recycled patio slabs to create a durable no-slip surface outside the centre’s front door.
Ashley expressed gratitude to Prairie Safety Surfacing owner Dave Jones, who she said is well-known for philanthropy in the community.
Minerva Painting and Decorating did a professional two-coat paint job to most of the centre’s interior, and Future Tint & Stripe applied an opaque film to windows in three rooms to allow privacy during child counselling sessions without closing window drapes.
“Counselling is hard for anyone, but for children it’s really scary. So, to come into a dark, kind of not warm area can be overwhelming. Having a space that’s now opened and bright and colourful is really great,” said Andrea.
Levey Industries donated kitchen cabinet resurfacing material, and Shaw Contract Group gave carpet tiles.
Ashley said they thought Shaw Contract Group would offer them leftover carpet inventory.
“They literally just said pick anything.”
The tiles they chose were a durable, high-quality commercial grade.
“The idea is you can pull it up and replace it or clean it if it gets dirty or stained.”
Other improvements included new closet drapes – which Alexandra sewed herself – light fixtures, furniture and shelving, toys and a TV.
Nadi Design spent about $2,500 for materials and had as many as 12 people working on the job. Their contributing partners donated over $10,000 in materials – not including donated labour.
By Friday the finishing touches were being done, getting the centre ready for child therapy sessions that evening.
Andrea was impressed with the results, and the people who made it happen.
“I’m blown away by the level of generosity that everyone brought to the table for what turned into a week of caring.”
Some children had already been by to see the transformation, Andrea said.
“Their faces lit up. It was like Christmas morning.”
The news made the Nadi team happy.
“When Andrea said that some of the kids had already seen it that felt really good,” said Ashley.
“To know that they actually felt good in there was really satisfying. It’s great to know that they can come to a safe and warm environment.”