Bertram Rantin

Volunteers' remodeling project brightens boys home

Shiny new countertops, brightly painted walls andfreshly sanded floorsawait the young residentsat the CarolinaBoys Home.It’s an upgrade severalmonths in the makingfor the north Columbiaresidential facilityand one that has membersof this year’s LeadershipColumbia classsmiling.

“The transformationhas been wonderful,”class member NoushinSprossel said. “And thebest thing is to see the look of amazementon the faces of these kids whenthey see all the changes taking placeThat’s the biggest prize for me.”

Sprossel was among several membersof this year’s Leadership Columbia classwho came out to the home Tuesday toformally mark the completion of theirrenovation effort. It was carried out byclass members with the help of severalarea businesses.

The 55-member group selected theCarolina Boys Home for its communityoutreach in September and began guttingand restoring it earlier this year. Thework in the two-story building includes arenovated kitchen and upstairs bathroom,new carpet throughout, new heatingand air system and ductwork, andoutdoor landscaping.

Class member Stephen Ross said thekitchen upgrades were a particularly significantpart of the effort, as the young,at-risk residents of the home learn tocook as preparation for independent living.

“That’s part of the reason wefelt like the kitchen should havebeen a priority,” Ross said.

While many class membersworked directly with the renovations,others served in otherroles that included securing donationsfor the work, updatingthe home’s Web site and helpingwith the necessary marketing.

Several local businesses alsodonated professional servicesand supplies totaling more than$50,000. Those included TimmonsContracting, Carolina Re-Bath, Walks Milliken, PraileauFlooring, Hardaway Concrete,Lennox Industries and ComfortServices of the Midlands.

Class member ToddWagstaff, also of Comfort Services,said the effort provided theideal model for businesses helpingtheir communities.

“I think it shows people thatyou don’t just have to write acheck if you just get involved,”he said.

Class members devoted morethan 1,000 hours to the renovationand built relationships withthe residents in the process. Inrecent months, they sponsoredoutings to the State House andUSC sporting events, while alsosecuring mentors for residents atthe home who didn’t alreadyhave one.

“It’s more than bricks andmortar. It’s relationships,” saidJannie Nelson, Carolina BoysHome founder and executive director.“They have built memoriesfor these children. The boyscan’t wait.”

The Carolina Boys Home isthe latest outreach effort of theLeadership Columbia program,which started more than 30years ago. Sponsored by TheGreater Columbia Chamber ofCommerce, Leadership Columbiaoffers young leaders opportunitiesto enhance their knowledgeand networking while helpingthe community.

Carolina Boys Home wasfounded in 1995 and providesrehabilitative service to boysages 13 to 19. The facility isstaffed around the clock andprovides specialized treatmentin a homelike environment toproduce responsible, self-sufficientadults.