ForKids gets a makeover

Published 8:04 pm Saturday, March 3, 2018

The demolition and rebuild have already started at the new location for the ForKids Center for Children and Families at 119 W. Constance Road in Suffolk.

The demolition of the 7,000-square-foot facility, the former Kelly’s Tavern restaurant, began on Jan. 23, and currently, the interior of the building is completely gutted. If the project stays on schedule, the new facility will be opened in June.

ForKids is conducting a capital campaign for the renovations. The organization has raised $1.96 million of its $2.25 million fundraising goal.

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In addition to its fundraising, ForKids recently was granted a $75,000 One-to-One Matching Challenge Grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation. The foundation is based in Richmond and provides support for the capital needs of charitable organizations.

In order to be granted the money, ForKids must match the grant from donors and organizations. This would add $150,000 to go towards the larger goal. Financial gifts can be made to the campaign at thecampaignforkids.org.

ForKids has also received leadership support from Landmark Foundation, the Obici Healthcare Foundation, TowneBank, Hampton Roads Community Foundation, Birdsong Peanuts and an active Suffolk Campaign Committee, led by Campaign Champion and Chief Executive Officer of Birdsong Corporation George Y. Birdsong.

While the facility will not be a place for children and families to stay overnight, the building will provide services for families and case managers.

The new facility will feature classrooms with updated technology to provide tutoring services and provide other services for parents. ForKids will also feature areas to do laundry and prepare food and a playground for the children.

“For our work, it’s going to be really transformational in Suffolk and Western Tidewater. This facility meets needs of our families and our teams in that service area,” said Chief Executive Officer Thaler McCormick. “It’ll be more welcoming for volunteers and those who want to be a part of the work. Our old facility was in a rough neighborhood, and we didn’t have a lot of volunteers. It will be full of light and safety. We think it will be a great place for the community to be involved. It will help Suffolk.”

Community groups have reached out to express their excitement for the new space on West Constance Road, and McCormick believes this will ramp up the number of volunteers they see at the facility.