A chance encounter turned into a gift of historic proportions for the Boys and Girls Club of Durham.
In December the club received an award nomination at the Ajax/Pickering Board of Trade.
Although unsuccessful, they sat next to winners, Alexis Kofman of Lev2 Millwork Company and Melissa Margaret of M2 Perspectives.
“They asked us what our office was like and if it had ever been renovated,” Lisa McNee-Baker, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Durham.
“I laughed and said we are a non-profit so I probably have the original desk from 1963 when this place was built. Everything is mostly castoffs and hand-me-downs from other organizations,” she recalls. “The last thing we’d think of is ‘that person could really use a new chair, or we should splash some color around in this office’. It’s just always last on our priority list.”
Kofman and Margaret later took a firsthand look at the state of the club’s office.
“They had a tour, and I think we inspired them with our disorganization and lack of continuity with our decorating,” McNee-Baker says with a laugh.
Employees were given an opportunity to create a wish list for the renovations.
“The exercise in itself was morale boosting. people had a lot of fun with it,” McNee-Baker stated.
Kofman knew a project this size would take a community, so she reached out to fellow Durham business owners and tradespeople. Renovations included custom-made cabinetry, millwork, new windows and electrical services just to name a few.
In all, the participating business combined to donate more than $90,000 in services and products.
“Nothing like this has happened to us before, it’s huge,” McNee-Baker states.
The renovations caused some challenges over the past month McNee-Baker ensures was nothing they can’t handle.
“The one thing about people who work at the Boys and Girls Club is they are resilient and passionate. Nothing really slowed down.”
To her, the changes will make the club more appealing to the 6,000 monthly users who use the facility.
“Us creating an environment that looks good shows that we value them.”
For Kofman, she believes “every child needs an opportunity for nurturing, support, and taught they are fearless and limitless.
“The Boys and Girls Club does exactly that for thousands of children. I’m so glad that our business partners feel the same and put their heart into this project,” Kofman states.
The club’s unveiled its new and improved building on Valentine’s Day.