Joint effort helps ForKids

Published 9:46 pm Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pictured above are members of the North Suffolk Rotary Club; students from the Pruden Center; their instructor; Corey McCray, director of the Pruden Center; Darren Cochran, manager of the Stateline Builders on Holland Road and two ForKids employees. Members of the North Suffolk Rotrary Club, students from the Pruden Center and Cochran worked to install the shed behind them at the Suffolk ForKids shelter in Suffolk on Thursday.

A desire to provide community service and some on-the-job experience for vocational students came together on Thursday, when a new storage shed was delivered to the ForKids homeless shelter near downtown.

The North Suffolk Rotary Club, the Pruden Center for Industry and Technology and Darren Cochran, manager of the Stateline Builders on Holland Road worked together to provide and place a storage shed at the Suffolk ForKids location.

The students and Rotarians also will be doing trim work on the ForKids building in the near future.

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“It gives us a new space to be able to store items we didn’t think we had room for,” Emily Thompson, adult case manager assistant with ForKids, said of the new storage building. “That’s huge for us.”

The Rotary Club decided to purchase the shed, which had been built by students at the Pruden Center, after learning that the shelter was in need of a new one. An old storage building the shelter has on site is leaking, and there wasn’t enough room for storage, said Terri Morris, the shelter’s children’s case manager.

“I had an opportunity to see how needful some of these young people are,” Rotarian Jim Dunne said after helping to unload the shed at its new home.

The Rotary Club has worked with ForKids on a few painting and general repair projects. Those experiences showed Rotarians there was need for even more help.

“That’s what Rotary is all about. It makes you feel good,” said Tom Anderson, liaison between the Rotary Club and ForKids. “They know if they need something to call us.”

When the Rotary Club discovered the shelter needed a shed and trim work, members began to consider where they could purchase the shed, how they could transport and place it and how they could help with the trim work.

Rotarian Bill Cary, who is president of the Pruden Center Foundation, learned that a shed built by Pruden construction students was available for $1,300. He and instructor John Thompson devised a plan to deliver and place the shed and to give students some on-the-job experience doing trim work at the shelter.

“I am always interested in doing community projects,” Thompson said. “We view it as a great community project. Our main objective is to give students experience, but if we can kill two birds with one stone, that’s great.”

After ForKids representatives chose a site for the shed, Pruden students set up cement blocks and made level the area where it would be placed.

Cochran transported the shed from the Pruden Center to the ForKids location at no charge.

“I think it’s pretty good, because it’s for the homeless shelter and it gives us good experience too, doing stuff for good,” said Kyle Wood, one of the students at the Pruden center who helped to set up the new shed.

“It feels good to have local support to help make space within the Suffolk House,” Emily Thompson said. “Thank you to the Rotary Club and Pruden Center.”

The shelter hopes to use the storage space to house birthday items, excess toys, household items, residents’ belongings and more.

“Now there’s more storage. There’s a place for the residents’ belongings,” Morris said.

“Now they can rest a little easier, knowing their stuff is in a nice new shed.”