A house full of strangers came together for a common purpose – to help make a house a “home.” The week of July 8, local churches, businesses and volunteers worked for five days to do a home makeover at the Central Florida Children’s Home.
Located across from Valencia College in Lake Nona, the Central Florida Children’s Home was founded in 1973 by Pastor Clyde F. Greene. The home is solely supported by donations and volunteers. Their mission is to care for children whose parents either cannot or will not provide for them due to certain circumstances in the child’s life and/or difficulties in the parents’ lives.
As a faith-based community, they provide a Christian atmosphere and a real “home” atmosphere by assigning children a “mom and dad.” This creates a secure environment where the children can experience unconditional love and nurturing. An emphasis is placed on academic achievement to insure that the children are well prepared for higher academic studies or vocational training for the job market.
The children are assigned chores and responsibilities to help develop character and discipline, skills that they can carry throughout their lives. The Central Florida Children’s Home works with churches and counselors to rehabilitate the homes, and the community is served by children who grow to become productive and responsible citizens.
The makeover included new bedding and designs in the girls’ and boys’ hallways and a new living room, kitchen, dining room, game room, playroom, and laundry room makeover. In the living room, walls were painted, furniture was updated or repainted, and new flooring was installed throughout the home. In the kitchen, old cabinets were removed, and new white cabinets were installed with a new granite countertop. The dining room walls and cabinets were repainted, and a fresh look was given to the dining table. The game room added new couches and paint, the playroom was freshly painted, and in the laundry room, shelves were added, walls were painted, and a pull-down staircase was added at the attic space.
As in any renovation, there were obstacles to overcome. Crews worked endlessly from 7 a.m. to midnight for five days to make the grand reveal a special one. And although volunteers each were from different groups, they helped one another. Across the house you could hear, ”Can I get a hand?” or “Does anyone have a hammer I can borrow?” One of the biggest concerns was having volunteers working on top of each other, but that never was a problem.
As the week drew to an end, the home started coming together. Once the flooring was in, the living room crews brought in furniture and accessories – what a difference that made. Then the boys’ hall came together, then the girls’ hall. On the last day, volunteers overlapped to help one another.
This is a testament to how volunteering brings people together. Strangers who didn’t know each other at the beginning of the week were friends by Friday.
RJ and Jordan Fontana are the house parents at the Central Florida Children’s Home. As house parents, they live at the home full time and provide a structured parental environment. RJ took on the role of marketing the makeover weeks before the start. Sourcing donations and securing volunteers took place months before the makeover.
“It takes a village, and the village made it happen. Thank you for supporting our mission and making this house a home,” says RJ. The Central Florida Children’s Home would like to thank the following sponsors for their time and donations:
Nemours Children’s Hospital ER Department (Sherwin-Williams supplied $800 worth of paint and supplies; Sam’s Club-Lake Nona)
Dining Room, Kitchen and Study
The Rogers Team at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty (TOG Renovations LLC., Cabinets, The Dawn Brancheau Foundation, Ultimate Granite Solutions, StudioG Hair Salon)
ReThink Life Church-Lake Nona Campus (Harvey Plumbing)
Expeditors International of Washington, Inc.
Bolay, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa, Culver’s
Hotel for the Kids
Residence Inn by Marriott Orlando, Lake Nona, and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Orlando-Lake Nona Area
Walmart Supercenter, Lake Nona-Narcoossee Road; Ace Hardware; Walmart Neighborhood Market Orlando-Curry Ford Road; Nona Church; PNC Bank; JUNK it PLUS LLC; Lake Nona Youth Sports; Lowe’s Home Improvement; Harvey Baker Plumbing
Nona.Media / Nonahood News, Shea Rose Photography, Fine d-Zign Signs
Did you know?
If you shop on Amazon for your personal use or business, you can add Amazon Smile to your account free of charge, and Amazon will donate to the Home every time you make a purchase. Shop at smile.amazon.com/ch/59-1553478, and Amazon will donate to the Central Florida Children’s Home. All you have to do is shop.
Please follow the Central Florida Children’s Home on Facebook to stay up to date on their needs list. Gift card donations to Walmart, Lowe’s, etc., and restaurants are greatly appreciated.
Sophia Rogers leads the Rogers Team at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty specializing in Lake Nona real estate. She can be reached at email@example.com.