Norfolk, VA — May 9th, 2019 Members of the Wilbanks Smith & Thomas team recently had the opportunity to provide hands-on support to the YWCA of South Hampton Roads through their Adopt-a-Room Project. This new initiative is aimed at transforming emergency shelters into places that provide a true sense of "home," even if only temporarily.

As the oldest and largest multicultural women's organization in the world, the YWCA has strengthened social movements for over a century, and today it also offers child development programs and crisis services.

The YWCA emergency shelter is a 30-day shelter focused on providing adult women and children survivors of domestic violence a safe place to stay while getting back on their feet and building independence. A safe, clean and attractive property is a vital part of helping YWCA clients feel comfortable during their time of transition. As of 2018, the YWCA of South Hampton Roads has served over 450 shelter clients.

One in every six WST employees is female, and the YWCA's mission is particularly close to the heart of the team of ladies who participated in this effort.

“Our emergency shelter provides a place of respite and healing for victims of violence transitioning out of dangerous situations. Organizations who participate in the Adopt-a-Room Program are creating a place of sanctuary for women and children experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence.”

- Alexandra Howe, Director of Development, YWCA

WST is one of the first local organizations to support the Adopt-a-Room Project through direct volunteering efforts, and YWCA hopes to expand its base of corporate support through volunteer work.

Eight WST employees volunteered in the Adopt-a-Room project by planning and executing the redesign. The project consisted of a complete repaint of one large shelter room, cleanup, update to four beds with complete new bedding, wall decor, new storage, new rug, donation of 24 pillows for the shelter, 12 sets of linen sheets and comforters, 24 bath towels, 12 hand towels and wash cloths, as well as 12 tote-sized hospitality care packages. Care packages consisted of toiletries and other necessities for clients to use during their stay and to take with them as they transition from the shelter to their more permanent home.

The redesign was completed in approximately five and a half hours — not including the planning and preparation hours — with six shopping carts of donation items and supplies provided to make the transformation possible.

Learn more about the YWCA and their mission by visiting their website. Interested in volunteering? Contact their team at [email protected]



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