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Scout project supports families in shelter
July 22, 2015

By Lisa Surber | When we host Families Moving Forward guests at Christ the King Catholic Community, one ongoing problem is our lack of individual rooms to convert to private family bedrooms. Instead we have a large auditorium space in which we create smaller “rooms” for each family. We have “made do” with some old donated office cubicle partitions which we would set up to create a little privacy.

While the partitions were better than nothing, they were heavy and difficult to maneuver. They never looked very nice, nor were the “walls” tall enough to create real privacy. Furthermore, there were no doors. We used curtains instead, which created some privacy, but sometimes made it difficult for parents to keep their little ones in the rooms at bedtime.

One of our young parishioners, Seamus Herson, is working toward his Eagle Scout award and came up with the idea to make a better bedroom for his community service project. Seamus (pictured above with Fr. Korogi) and his family are longtime Families Moving Forward volunteers at Christ the King. Seamus, along with his Boy Scout troop and volunteers from our congregation, built interchangeable panels to create new and nicer rooms for the families.

These walls now reach nearly to the ceiling and have actual doors for privacy. Each panel is insulated to help with noise transfer, and the rooms look and feel much more like real rooms instead of temporary dividers.

Best of all, because each panel is 8’ by 4’ and very lightweight, these rooms will be easier to assemble, disassemble, and store, and we will be able to create room sizes that will fit each individual family.

Our pastor, Father Dale Korogi, was very supportive of this plan and helped us to raise more than $14,000 within our parish to fund this project. Amazingly, through careful design and planning, the panels will only take a fraction of those funds, so we will have money left over to improve other areas of our FMF program.

We are so grateful that Seamus chose the Families Moving Forward program for his project and that Fr. Dale and our community were so generous and supportive.

We wanted to share this because we know other congregations sometimes struggle with how to create private spaces when individual rooms are not available. This room plan is simple and affordable and might work for others as well.

Lisa Surber
Lisa and Joe Surber are Families Moving Forward host coordinators at Christ the King Catholic Community, Minneapolis.