For years to come, the children’s room in the new Center for Families will bear the fingerprints of Grace Richey.
One of the furniture pieces Richey brought to the center as she furnished the children’s room was a shelving unit her class made for the Montgomery Elementary School auction back when she was in second or third grade. The unit is decorated with artwork made by Richey and her classmates using their thumbprints.
Now, years later, it will hold supplies for the children visiting the D Street House, which opened in Davis last week.
The center, housed in the building at Fifth and D streets, is a joint operation of the Woodland-based Center for Families (formerly known as the Yolo Family Resource Center) and Davis Community Church.
As with similar centers in Davis and elsewhere in Yolo County, the site will provide everything from parenting support and educational groups to health insurance enrollments, child development screenings, infant/toddler play groups, referrals, case management and counseling.
Plans for D Street House got underway last year, and fortuitously for both the center and the church, Richey was looking to take on a project around that time in order to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award.
After inquiring with First 5 Yolo as to what might be needed, Richey was directed to get in touch with Bob Ekstrom, executive director of the Center for Families, who asked her to help with the children’s room.
The room will serve as a place for young children to play while their parents are receiving services or attending a parent education program and also house playgroups for children ages 0-5.
The project was approved by the Girl Scout Council in December and Richey got to work quickly, holding a work day when fellow members of Davis High School’s California Scholarship Federation assisted in painting the walls, closet and shelves a pretty light blue.
To help pay for the project, Richey applied for and received the Violet Richardson Award, an annual $1,000 grant given by Soroptimist International of Davis to a teen girl who volunteers in her community or school.
The grant meant Richey would actually be able to buy some new items for the children’s room, rather than just hit up yard sales.
“I was really excited to have so much freedom to buy nice stuff,” Richey said.
From Ikea she purchased a small table with colorful little chairs and she and her dad will be building a matching bookcase.
There also was carpet to purchase and Richey hopes to find a little kitchen play set, since she’s already received many donations of plastic food and dishes.
Family and friends, in fact, have donated everything from toys to books, games to furniture.
Childhood friends of her mother’s donated a huge dollhouse, which Richey will be refurbishing for a while before it arrives in its new home.
“I’m going to clean out the cobwebs and paint it,” she explained.
And she needs to find more storage bins for all the arts and crafts supplies, a table for the dollhouse and other assorted things.
But all in all, the project has turned out beautifully, and Richey was glad she took it on.
“I’m really happy I did this,” she said. “I like the physical work of painting and sorting.”
That said, it was a lot of work, especially with everything else Richey was balancing — she is a junior at Davis High School and is involved in many clubs and activities there, not to mention gearing up for her SATs.
Earning a Girl Scout Gold Award — the highest award in Girl Scouts and comparable to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Award — requires at least 80 hours dedicated to a project. Richey was close to 60 as the D Street House’s open house neared last week, and she has no doubt she’ll top 80 by the time she’s finished furnishing the children’s room just they way she wants.
To learn more about services and programs at D Street House, or to volunteer, call 530-406-7221.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at email@example.com or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy