Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – The Power of Women

Name: carly conway
From: princeton, New Jersey
Grade: 12th grade
School: Montgomery High School
Votes: 0

In
the summer of 2015, my Girl Scout troop and I offered to help a
rundown women’s shelter get the renovations that they needed. The
shelter had an old attic that was not being used efficiently so we
decided to help fix it up. Our goal was to help the abused women of
Womanspace Princeton have a better living situation.

The
house was old and run down. The building itself was covered in
fencing and was made of brick. The house had an old musty smell and
had creaky stairs and even some holes in the walls. Unfortunately,
the women and children living there did not have much choice since
they just needed to be safe. We talked to the women and found out
that this wasn’t their ideal living situation but they were willing
to stay there in exchange for the safety.

We
asked the women what they wanted for their new upstairs. Many of the
woman we talked to said that they didn’t care what the design was
but that they were thankful that we were willing to help. With that
being said, we still wanted to make the residents a beautiful room
that they would feel comfortable in. At the same time, we wanted to
make sure our project would work for them and also would be
sustainable.

One
of the issues we faced was the clean up. The home where the women
were living was fairly old. The attic had the same musty smell as the
downstairs of the house and looked as if no one had been up there in
years. It was covered in dust and was only used for extra storage. We
planned to use the area as a space where they could organize clothing
and other donations, and the children could play. The clean up job
was tedious but very rewarding in the end. We had to completely clean
out the attic and find a new place to house all the items that they
were storing up there.

After
the clean up, we started the renovation by painting and fixing some
of the floorboards and walls that had holes. After a few days of
painting, it was on to the organizing and refurbishing the room. They
had some furniture to use but a lot of pieces came from donations. We
worked on the room in total for about fourty hours, which spanned
about two weeks.

One
woman in particular shared her story with me about having to leave
her home. She told me that having to leave her home with her children
was a very hard decision. She said she did not regret it though,
because of the new safety that she felt. From hearing about this
woman’s hardships, I learned that I should be thankful for my
loving family; unfortunately, she had to run away from hers.


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