The Carriage House Activities Center made its debut yesterday during our Open House event! The Berks County community turned out to celebrate the opening of our new facility, which provides a safe and nurturing environment for our Littles to participate in agency activities.
The opening culminated a process that began three years ago. Actually, the agency has always intended to renovate our Carriage House and turn it into an activities center ever since we purchased our current location in May 2001. It wasn’t until 2015 though when the plans took a giant leap forward. That’s when a team of Leadership Berks participants selected the Carriage House project and conducted a feasibility study which included interviews with our Littles and volunteers. Following the Leadership Berks effort, our Board of Directors formed a Capital Campaign Committee — chaired by then-Board member and current Big Brother Jason Hornberger — to explore funding for the project. Following a successful campaign, the construction project began in May of this year.
Many people contributed to the project’s success including general contractor Dolan Construction (and their sub-contractors), Muhlenberg Greene Architects, and — of course — more than 100 donors (made up of individuals, families, corporations, and foundation) who collectively donated over $270,000 for the project. We also extend our appreciation to the many people who attended our ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark this great accomplishment.
The Carriage House Activities Center was one of a number of BIG things being celebrated by our agency. The Lowe’s Heroes paid a four-day visit to Big Brothers Big Sisters in late September to fully renovate our kitchen in the main building — facilitating cooking activities with our Littles and other events. The kitchen renovations included all new appliances and cabinetry. In addition, the Lowe’s Heroes renovated two bathrooms and our pantry area. Our appreciation to the volunteers from the Lowe’s stores in Exeter and Morgantown. Barbara and Dawn from the Exeter location attended our Ribbon Cutting/Open House to help us celebrate.
Meanwhile, friends from Home Depot visited to work on our landscaping in preparation for the Open House event…with plans to return in the Spring for some additional work in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Thank you, Joe (who also attended our Open House/Ribbon cutting) and your hard-working crew.
And there’s more! This all happened as Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrates 50 years of service to the youth of Berks County. Coincidentally, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America — created over 100 years ago — stood together with our volunteers in declaring that Together, We Are Defenders of Potential!