DHSS News Promoting the health and well-being of Alaskans. June 2019

Beacon Hill volunteers remodel OCS contact rooms

Family contact rooms for the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) provide an essential area for children in OCS’s care to continue spending time with their parents and family with the hopes of reunification.

However, due to lack of resources, these rooms do not undergo routine maintenance or receive updated furniture and goods.  These factors, coupled with high traffic can cause the rooms to deteriorate over time.

Such was the case for the seven family contact rooms in the Anchorage OCS building. The rooms were in desperate need of a makeover, and OCS Regional Manager Jessie Jacobs was looking for solutions. She had been researching for several years for cost-effective ways to accomplish this goal, but there was never funding in the budget to do so.

A conversation between Jacobs and local nonprofit, Beacon Hill, provided an unexpected opportunity to renovate the rooms. Beacon Hill is a nonprofit organization that supports Alaska’s vulnerable children through an array of different programs. The organization previously helped with a similar project in the OCS Wasilla office. With the help of employees and social media, Beacon Hill was able to spread the message about the condition of the rooms in Anchorage, and local businesses jumped at the opportunity to help support OCS. A number of community members and businesses donated materials for the makeover and April 27 was set for the remodel.

On the eve and day of April 27, volunteers worked around the clock, renovating the rooms into bright and cheerful spaces.  In less than 24 combined hours, a complete transformation took place. Each room now has a theme based on popular children’s books and has fresh paint, new furniture and toys.

Jacobs states that, “Families who come to OCS are often already experiencing a high level of stress, trauma and turmoil in their lives. Parents spending time with their children, should be able to look forward to doing so in an environment that is as comfortable as possible and fosters healthy, quality time together.”

This project would not have been possible without the hard work of the volunteers, donations from the community and the huge heart of Beacon Hill. OCS would like to thank everyone who took part in the makeover of the rooms, which provide such an important service to some of Alaska’s children!

 

 

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