On November 18, members of Southwest Durham Rotary, the Rotary e-club of District 7710 and other area Rotary clubs came together to spend the day renovating family bedrooms and a family common room at Urban Ministries in downtown Durham. Urban Ministries is a community shelter providing food, shelter and support programs for those in need in the Durham Community. Families staying in these rooms, often single parents with young children, stay here for up to 90 days while permanent housing and jobs are worked out.
The rooms, before renovation, have an industrial feel — cement walls, linoleum floors, fluorescent lighting. They are functional but not particularly homey. Each bedroom suite has four twin bunk beds and a bathroom. The family room is a larger room where residents can hang out, eat, watch TV, kids can play and so forth.
Lotta Love, a non-profit started in the Triangle area by interior designer Charlotta Sjoelin, designs updates for rooms in area shelters that make them more comfortable and homey for the families staying there. This not only makes the families feel good, but it also helps prepare them for their permanent homes. With Charlotta’s design help and the assistance of a district Rotary grant, we remade these rooms by painting all the walls, adding new bedding and towels, hanging artwork and curtains, and adding rugs, storage and lighting. To the common family room, we painted the walls and installed a new TV and wall mount, built a large new kitchen table and benches, a wall bar with seating, a kids play area and some additional seating.
Below are photos of the day we spent making over the rooms, including some before pictures and some photos with the deserving families. It was great to meet them, especially the kids, who were very excited about their new rooms.
On November 18, in partnership with Lotta Love, Southwest Durham Rotary, the Rotary e-club of District 7710 and other area Rotary clubs will renovate four family bedrooms and one family common room at Urban Ministries in downtown Durham. Urban Ministries is a homeless shelter that provides food, shelter and support programs to neighbors in need within the Durham community.
Lotta Love is an organization founded by Charlotta Sjoelin, an interior designer, which works to make shelters into more safe, dignified and inspiring living spaces for the residents who stay there. Lotta Love has helped make over rooms at many area homeless, women and children’s shelters in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, and has assisted others in starting their own chapters in cities across the United States.
With the help of a district grant, we will paint all the rooms, replace all bedding and towels with brand new linens, add art, rugs, lamps, mini fridges and other home items to the bedrooms. To the common area, we will also add a breakfast bar, a new large table and seating, a new TV and a children’s play area filled with toys and games.
Volunteers are needed for painting prep, painting, light carpentry work, moving furniture and setting up beds, hanging artwork, etc. A link to sign-ups will be posted shortly.
Consider participating in Rotary’s International Youth Exchange program! You have the opportunity to bring an international experience directly into your home. By hosting an exchange student this year, you and your family can expand your world horizons and knowledge, and be an active contributor to building international peace.
Rotary International’s Youth Exchange program benefits both the exchange student and the host family, as unique insights are gained into another culture on a personal level that you cannot get any other way.
This year, the Southwest Durham Rotary Club is hosting a great young man from Brazil, João Indi. He is a junior at Jordan High School. We are seeking two host families for 90 days each, beginning after Thanksgiving to mid-February and mid-February through the end of the school year in June 2018. It is preferable that families live in the Jordan school district, or be able to transport him to and from school each day.
Please consider the possibility of opening up your home and sharing your life with João. You and your family can be a positive force for peace and understanding in this world and develop life-long international friendships.
Students like João are carefully selected by Rotary clubs overseas. This is an approved program through the U.S. Department of State that has been successfully operating since the mid 1950’s.
Interested in learning more? Please contact Bill Fine with any questions you may have and to set up an interview: 410-493-9467 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are two YouTube links on Rotary Youth Exchange from the eyes of participants:
Southwest Durham Rotary Club is sponsoring its first Rotary Youth Exchange Student. Grace Abels, who recently graduated from Jordan High School in Durham, is spending a year in Arequipa, Peru. She left in July, and came to speak to SWDR earlier that month to talk about her upcoming trip. She will be attending school, traveling and volunteering with other Rotary exchange students, and staying with local host families. When she returns next year, she will attend Duke University. She’s also a Rotary Youth Exchange legacy — her father Jon was an exchange student to Sweden when he was in high school. Jon is involved with the Rotary Peace Fellow program at Duke.
Club member Bill Fine, who is very involved with the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, recently told the District 7710 newsletter, “If your club is yet to get involved with Rotary Youth Exchange, I highly suggest that you do. It is tremendously rewarding experience for the students, host families and host clubs. This is how Peace breaks out, one person at a time.”
SWDR is also hosting an incoming student from Brazil, João Pedro Santiago Indi, who recently arrived and is now attending Jordan High School.
Host families are needed for João for later in his year here. You do not have to be a Rotarian to apply, but you do need to live in the Jordan High School district. If interested, please contact Bill Fine by email here.
On July 28th, Southwest Durham Rotary Club sponsored a free dental treatment day at Urban Ministries of Durham. Five Rotarian dentists — Dr. Linda Levin, Dr. Mike Richter, Dr. Geoff Cunningham, Dr. Jim Hoke and Dr. Brent Blaylock — and their employees provided no-cost treatment for clients of Urban Ministries, using a mobile dental truck that has been adapted for dental treatment by the North Carolina Baptist on Mission. Non-dentist volunteers also helped check in patients, take blood pressure and review medical histories. More than 30 patients were provided dental care worth more than $28,000.
Dental Day was completed in honor of Dr. Evers Airall, DDS, a longtime member of Southwest Durham Rotary Club and 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army Medical Service, who practiced dentistry for three decades. He died earlier in 2017.
The day was a huge success, and our Rotarian dentists are planning another Dental Day to take place in November.
Read a story about the project from ABC11 here , watch a video from TWC News here or watch this ABC11 New video below: