By Jessica Farrish
A recent collaboration between the Raleigh County Day Report Center and Lowe’s Home Improvement in Beckley is giving a cheerful “boost” to local residents who are trying to beat drug addictions.
The day report center is located in the old Raleigh magistrate building on Howe Street.
Low-risk offenders who would have been sentenced to jail without addiction counseling are instead admitted into the day report program, where they receive counseling, drug screening and training programs and participate in community service projects.
They must also submit to random drug tests.
Although the day report program has been successful in helping participants and is reducing jail costs for the county, the facility itself was ... bleh.
“Our building was in need of repair,” said Miranda Elkins, assistant regional director of the center.
From messed-up plaster and peeling paint to the all-white walls, the building looked more institutional than welcoming, she said.
“One of my case managers, Rebecca Fisher, went to Lowe’s to ask if they’d be interested in donating some paint for us,” said Elkins. “She was told at that time by a manager about the program Lowe’s has where once a year they pick a nonprofit organization and come in and help them paint, remodel and fix things that are broken or need repair.”
Elkins was placed in touch with Amy Buchanan, Lowe’s human resources director.
“Each year, Lowe’s does a Lowe’s Heroes project,” said Buchanan. “We pick someone in the community or an organization to become involved with.”
Lowe’s granted around $1,500 to the day report center and sent a team of volunteers to make repairs.
“We buy all the supplies, like rollers, brushes, mirrors ... anything they needed to update the facility,” said Buchanan.
Elkins said day report staff, community support individuals and Lowe’s associates tore the old plaster from the walls, all the way to the brick, and built a wall with new drywall, donated by Lowe’s.
The new walls didn’t stay white; Valspar Corp. donated Valspar paint.
“We got a few different paints,” said Elkins. “Yellow for the entryway, to sort of brighten it up, make it cheerful, blue in the boys’ restroom, purple in the girls’, and a blue and green combo in the classroom. We also have some gray.”
She said the brighter, more cheerful colors are likely to have an impact on the attitudes of day report participants.
“It’s not going to be so bland when they walk in,” she said. “It’s going to be a little more bright, more cheerful. We searched the colors to get calming colors, colors that make individuals want to be creative, maybe help focus individuals on the counseling they’re receiving.”
Buchanan said other organizations interested in the Lowe’s Heroes program may mail a letter on letterhead to Lowe’s manager Mike Keith, 1210 N. Eisenhower Drive, Beckley, WV 25801.
She added that store managers choose the organization, and most service projects are done in the spring.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org