Donations give children’s shelter a much-needed makeover |

Donations give children’s shelter a much-needed makeover

by F.T. Norton, Appeal Staff Writer

A Carson City children’s shelter became homier after donated renovations brightened the 11-bed facility.

The Northern Nevada Children’s Shelter, which contracts beds to the Division of Child and Family Services through Volunteers of America, was transformed with donations from Home Depot and labor by Starbucks employees.

“When we have a need for an emergency placement, we have that facility available,” said Alice Pittsley, manager of the Division of Child and Family Services’ Carson City office.”They’ve just spiffed that place up.”

Pittsley said myriad reasons force the division to remove children from homes, either temporarily or on a more permanent basis, and the shelter is one of a handful of options it has for emergency placement.

“It’s a very valuable resource for us,” she said.

Jim Powell, program director of the shelter, said Starbucks, a national sponsor of Volunteers of America, contacted the organization’s Sacramento offices about completing a project in the Carson City area. Starbucks owns a manufacturing plant in Minden and stores in Gardnerville and Carson City.

Sacramento referred Starbucks to Powell and the shelter.

“Starbucks got about 30 volunteers together, coordinated with Home Depot to get paint and paint supplies, and they painted the entire outside of the shelter and trimmed back the bushes, ” he said. “Then they decided to help us with the inside of the structure.”

That help included new carpets, tile for the front entrance, vertical blinds throughout most of the house, repairs of electrical problems such as non-working light switches, and fresh paint in the bedrooms.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” Powell said. “Anyone that saw the shelter before knows that it’s much brighter and friendlier than it used to be.”

Powell asked that the facility’s location not be published, for security reasons.

According to its Web site, Volunteers of America is a national spiritually based nonprofit corporation providing local human-service programs with individual and community involvement.

The funding for the Carson City program comes from its contract with the state. Any other financial needs are covered by a vehicle-donation program.

The Carson City shelter is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. None of the staff live at the facility.

It is a temporary home providing housing, meals and clothing, in addition to coordination of schooling, medical, dental and psychological counseling needs, Powell said. Other services include helping to reunite biological families or transitioning children into foster homes.

Powell now needs to find a van to transport up to 11 children to school and activities.

“The van we have is on its last legs,” he said. “We’re not even looking for a new one. On this one, we’ve replaced the oil pumps and the distributor, and it’s lost some of its power. and we have to fix the radiator leaks.”

To donate a van to the Northern Nevada Children’s Shelter, contact Powell at