FCLI class selects shelter project

by Sonja J. Keith
Mike Kemp photos

The Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas received a much-needed facelift and new equipment thanks to this year’s adult class participating in the Faulkner County Leadership Institute.

The 27-member class solicited financial and in-kind support for the work and provided some of the manpower for the community service project.

Architect Joanna Nabholz, a member of this year’s class, said during one of its first monthly sessions, the class split up into three groups to tour different non-profits in Conway and report back on their impressions and the needs at each location. The class considered several projects but decided on the women’s shelter, which was in need of an additional bathroom and other work.

Adam Tullos, a member of this year’s class, served as the project manager.

The class set a goal of $30,000 to add a bathroom, wheelchair ramp/landscaping, a vegetable garden and storage cabinets as well as make updates to the foyer and bedrooms. The class also provided a storage shed, new air conditioning unit, laptops and a new tankless water heater. Members also painted and did other upgrades during three work weekends in June.

“Throughout my experience in FCLI and working on this project, I’ve become so thankful to live in Faulkner County,” said Rachel Steele, a member of this year’s class. “We really have something special – a legacy of loving, hardworking neighbors. It is my prayer that the Women’s Shelter is a place of peace for the residents – not just because they are away from harm, but because they have a serene, beautiful place to heal.”

Donations totaling about $29,000 for the project were received from a variety of businesses, with major contributions from:

Conway Corporation – $7,500
Class members – $2,050
Nabholz Construction – $2,000
Entergy, Crafton Tull Centennial Bank, Judge H.G. Foster, Grace Bible Church, Conway Regional Health System and First Security Bank – $1,000
Commercial Door & Hardware, Simmons Bank, Sara and Jimmy Batcheller, Tim and Brenda Nabholz, Virco, Omni Pet/Leather Brothers, Bates Furniture and Linda Linn – $500

In-kind contributions were estimated at $20,000, which made it possible for the class to use cash donations to make purchases for the shelter. “It was the in-kind donations of time and materials that really made this possible,” Joanna said.

Major in-kind contributors were:

Conway Winnelson – $4,000
Fureigh Electric – $3,000
Tom Voegele and Crafton Tull – $1,500
Moix Carpet, Nahbolz Construction, Kordsmeier Remodeling, H+N Architects – $1,000
Robert M. Stone Construction – $800
Freyaldenhoven Heating and Air – $750
Jan Mallett, SBR Painting, Acme Brick, Wayne Lilley and A&B Dirt Movers – $500

Joanna said the response to the project was so positive that the class was able to do more than originally planned. In addition to the cash and in-kind support, on work days, lunches were provided by various businesses in the community.

“I was really impressed by the support we received from the business community,” said class member Adam Tullos. “Throughout the project, we had to call on many businesses for help to donate concrete, haul in gravel, prune trees, install plumbing and much more. Every time we called on a business, they were there for us to help any way that they could and I really appreciate their support. It was great working with the 27 members of our FCLI class on this project. They put in a lot of long hours on weekends to make this project a reality. I also want to say how impressed I am with the staff at the women’s shelter and how well they run their facility. It is so amazing to see how far Carrie and her team at the shelter can stretch a dollar and how much they do for the women and children that stay with them.”

“The amount of support we received during our project was overwhelming,” said class member Stefanie Vann. “It was amazing to see our community come together for such a great organization. Working with Carrie and her staff was so rewarding and to be able to provide a need that was so essential. Being able to provide a much more serene environment for the women and children was a huge blessing to all. Working with my classmates and getting to know each of them through this process was priceless.”