For far too long the drabness of the building located at 1000 Plymouth Ave. N. on Minneapolis’ north side did not match the joy and wonderful works that were going on inside.
But all that changed thanks to the help of the Greater Twin Cities United Way and volunteers who collectively donated 700 hours to giving the home of Catholic Charities’ Northside Child Development Center (NCDC) a vibrant makeover. The exterior facelift and interior renovations were a part of the United Way’s #Next100 campaign. The #Next100 campaign is a celebration of the United Way’s 100th anniversary. During the centennial, the United Way is seeking to engage 100,000 volunteers nationwide.
Sarah Caruso, Twin Cities United Way president and executive director, said though NCDC was chosen as the beneficiary via an online vote, the selection was one of serendipity.
“Catholic Charities is one of our largest partners in the Twin Cities and we share the same focus of helping those most in need and doing it with dignity,” said Caruso. “And children are a major focus for the United Way.”
NCDC services children six weeks to 12-years-old, and the volunteer project titled “Child’s Play: Helping Kids is Easy as 1-2-3,” was chosen as one of Greater Twin Cities United Way’s four community-wide projects during the nonprofit’s 100th anniversary celebration in February.
“It’s great to see a partnership like this between two great organizations,” said Keith Kozerksi, senior director of Child and Family Services for NCDC. “Having a bright shiny exterior matches the positive experiences the kids are having inside.”
Several groups participated in the NCDC volunteer project that included painting, patching, planting and more. Volunteers came from Corporate Volunteerism Council-Twin Cities, National Association of Black Journalists, Twin Cities Black Journalists, Minneapolis Labor Federation, Plasters Local 265, students of Job Corp, Mortenson Construction, United Way’s Emerging Leaders along with others. The more than 700 volunteer hours donated equated to $16,849.
Doug Flateau of the Minneapolis Labor Federation said it was an undertaking of love for the many union members and apprentices who participated in the rehab that included a full exterior painting that used more than 100 gallons of paint.
“It was important for many of them to participate because a lot of these union members live and work in our community and they value the work that’s being done here,” said Flateau. “And a lot come from similar neighborhoods and wanted to be a part of this. It was helpful for them to give back and for the students (of Job Corp) it was a benefit in possibly getting them eventual paid work, so it was a double benefit.”