SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — It took months of planning and countless hours of work but the students at the Excelsior Youth Center have a new life skills room.
The room hadn't been remodeled in 36 years. Now it's got an updated look to better serve the students who need it most.
“The paint had been painted over several different times we need to update some of the counter tops and it just really, really dates and some of the stuff needed to be taken out completely,” Kitara Johnson, chief development officer at Excelsior, said.
Excelsior Youth Center is an integrated non-profit that offers health care and education to at risk children and teens who need it most. And what they learn in this room will be vital to them.
“A lot of them leave the system at 18 not really knowing how to cook, not really knowing how to prepare a meal,” Johnson said.
So after months of planning and two weeks of construction, they have two new full kitchens. Excelsior enlisted the help of Lowes; the store on Division and the one in the Valley on Sprague donated material and labor.
“It just spoke to me as something that was really worthwhile to help these kids and the work that they are doing here,” Cheryl Toro, Lowe’s north Division store manager, said.
The walls were painted, countertops were updates and new appliances were put in.
“It was awesome, especially since Kitara brought some of the kids in the help,” Kris Aitken, Lowe’s kitchen designer, said. “It was exciting seeing them get so excited.”
The other side of the room was updated as well, with the help of the Hagen Foundation - it will be turned into a deli and coffee shop. Students can prepare food and sell it to staff members.
They'll learn to work a register and talk with customers. So this new life skills room is a gift that will continue to give to students for years to come.
“We have residence halls, but a lot of them don't get that opportunity to go home and this is going to be a really great present for them,” Johnson said. “They will learn those life skills and it's just really the spirit of giving and season.”