Every Child’s Hope (ECH) is a non-profit organization that works with children who are wards of the court by assisting them and their families in their "individual quest for health and wholeness through quality, faithful, professional services," according to the agency's mission statement. A key part of the process in finding a home for the child are supervised visits done on site at the St. Louis campus on St. Charles Rock Road.
Emily Esther, a 16 year-old student at , noticed that the visitation room at ECH did not encourage communication or bonding between the parents and children and that frequently the individuals did not want to see each other. The Girl Scout developed a plan of action as part of her own "quest" for a Gold Award.
“For my Gold Award project my objective was to create a room that was more warm and friendly so that it would encourage communication and bonding,” Esther said. “I wanted to create a room that encouraged a healthy parent-child relationship.”
Prior to the renovation, the visiting room was described as sparse, stark and cavernous. But she worked with ECH staff and others to figure out how to best meet the needs of families using the space.
After 100 hours worth of work, including time spent consulting with an interior designer, building a supply list, renting tools, along with furniture, toys and books, she can call her project a success. But she doesn't need to, because others are doing it for her.
Michael P. Brennan, the Executive Director of Every Child’s Hope, said the space is used more often than ever before and that in many cases the kids don’t want to leave. He also said that before Emily completed her Girl Scout project the space was large and spacious but lacked a warm and friendly place for therapists to work with children and families. Emily is responsible for solving that problem, Brennan said.
Esther credits the project with teaching her organizational skills and responsibility. She'll receive her Gold Award at a district-wide ceremony in June.
Information provided by the communications department of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri.