A class act for domestic violence shelter

 

From left, Ron Barisano, Teresa Knotts, Felicia Cook, Kareem Battie and Eric Hart are part of the Leadership Central Delaware Class of 2015 that helped remodel the kitchen and dining area of Abriendo Puertas. Abriendo Puertas is domestic violence shelter that serves Hispanic survivors and their children and one of the services provided by People’s Place. (Submitted photo/Ron Barisano)

From left, Ron Barisano, Teresa Knotts, Felicia Cook, Kareem Battie and Eric Hart are part of the Leadership Central Delaware Class of 2015 that helped remodel the kitchen and dining area of Abriendo Puertas. Abriendo Puertas is domestic violence shelter that serves Hispanic survivors and their children and one of the services provided by People’s Place. (Submitted photo/Ron Barisano)

KENT COUNTY — Leadership Central Delaware, headed by the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce, continues to be committed to helping organizations in the community.

LCD recently remodeled the kitchen and dining room area at People’s Place Abriendo Puertas, which is a domestic violence shelter that serves Hispanic survivors and their children.

“The objective of our project as the LCD 2015 class was to make a difference in the lives of women and children who are victims of domestic violence,” said Ron Barisano, class member of the LCD.

“We have made the living conditions better for these women who are living at the shelter and improved their quality of life.”

Some of the work included painting the walls, installing new cabinets, a countertop, a new stove, microwave, lighting and a new floor.

LCD is a 10-month program which trains its members to become effective and dynamic leaders in both their profession and in the community.

The class is composed of a maximum of 25 participants representing a diverse community.

“In September we had an opening retreat and were given five to six properties of non-profit organizations,” Mr. Barisano said. “We narrowed it down and once we met with People’s Place we talked about rehabbing their kitchen and dining room area.”

Kim Rigby, Communication and Donor Relations Manager for People’s Place said they were happy the organization chose to help them.

“Our kitchen was in very bad shape,” Ms. Rigby said. “Everyone here loves it, as we wouldn’t have been able to afford all the work that was done.”

The organization raised $4,443. Most of the funds were raised through class members or through their companies.

Project leader Josh Titter, who is a general contractor, visited the site before construction began and recommended to his classmates what work needed to be done.

“When I told them my site recommendations my classmates agreed and then from there we went to work,” Mr. Titter said. “I put together the material lists and the work schedule that accommodated everyone.”

The classmates found that there was moisture on the kitchen floor, which was in need of repair before they were able to put a new floor down.

The project was halted for the first weekend, as that was the only challenge the class members faced during the process.

Mr. Titter said he helped classmates out, who may have never done repair work before.

“It was great watching everyone come out of their shell,” Mr. Titter said. “I do this for a living, but others don’t so I was there whenever anyone needed help.”

Mr. Barisano said over the course of three to four weeks the project was completed.

“When most of us came together, we didn’t know each other,” Mr. Barisano said. “It was a bonding experience for us. It was rewarding to see the final results. It was great knowing we made a difference in their lives.”

Ms. Rigby agreed.

“All I could say was wow,” Ms. Rigby said. “Our shelters are like homes so when women and children come in it’s like they’re coming into someone’s house. It’s an older home. They did a phenomenal job.

“It looks very inviting. The colors are very soothing.”

Ms. Rigby said the women at the shelter love it.

“The women have been spending a lot more time in the kitchen,” Ms. Rigby said. “They’ve been cooking and talking with each other about their lives. They really seem to love it.”

 

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