By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
Brasfield & Gorrie and YWCA Central Alabama on Wednesday showcased renovations to the YW’s indoor play area, which serves children of homeless and working poor families.
Brasfield & Gorrie, along with its team of subcontractors, completed the project at no cost to the YW as part of its internal United Way campaign.
“This is not a Brasfield & Gorrie initiative; it really was a complete community effort,” said Jim Gorrie, of Brasfield & Gorrie. “Everyone was more than willing to help”
The firm — along with 482 volunteers and 42 subcontractors — renovated the YWCA’s indoor play area which serves homeless children in the KIDS Korner child development program.
Addressing a room full of subcontractors and volunteers on Wednesday, Gorrie said, “We told you our budget was zero and you didn’t flinch. We told you our timeline was a couple of days and you said, ‘We’ll try.’”
They also renovated two outside playgrounds and My Sister’s Closet, a resale boutique that provides free clothing to YW clients who are rebuilding their lives and need professional clothes for job interviews or work. All of the clothes in the boutique are donated to the YWCA.
The renovations would not have happened without Brasfield & Gorrie, said Yolanda Sullivan, CEO of YWCA Central Alabama.
“We know we needed the work done . . . but we didn’t have the funds,” Sullivan said.
She said contractors also took on smaller projects such adding energy-efficient windows to My Sister’s Closet.
A total of 3,836 hours went into the projects, and the extra thought that volunteers put into the work meant a lot to the YWCA, Sullivan said.
“That indoor playground is going to be a place for our children to have creativity and safe play in a beautiful environment,” Sullivan said. “Then for them to have a kitchen in there for children to make meals means a lot.”
The indoor playroom features a cooking area with a real stove, refrigerator and microwave so the children can learn those life skills early.
“We teach our kids those life skills kind of early because a lot of them will be independent earlier than most,” said Scottie Vickery, director of communications at the YWCA. “They might have to make their own snacks or get themselves ready in the morning, so we teach them those things.”
Sullivan said, “Brasfield & Gorrie has transformed our spaces into works of art. This project has exceeded our wildest dreams, and it will allow us to better serve those in crisis.”
The theme of this year’s United Way’s campaign is “Together, There Will Always Be a Way,” and attendees at Wednesday’s event said the project is a perfect example of how nonprofit agencies, corporate partners and community volunteers come together every day to unite in positive change.