BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - "C'mon in, Let's go look."
Michelle Hardy works for Turner Industries and is one of the powerful members of United Way's Women's Leadership Council. She pushes through a clean white door with window panes and a Christmas snowman hanging for decoration. The Women's Leadership Council focuses on bettering lives for Baton Rouge's women and families, so when they partnered with The Life of a Single Mom, a Baton Rouge-based global non-profit supporting single parent families, the council knew it had struck the mother load of gold in finding families who need help. Life of a Single Mom pointed the council to Faith Pate, a single mom in the support group's program.
Hardy proudly shows the spiffing up underway in Pate's home. "So we painted and sanded all the woodwork," Hardy said. "We filled the cracks in with a little bit of putty, painted the doors, cleaned everything really good."
The Women's Leadership team was even more motivated to help when then discovered Pate had been scammed. Hardy tells us, "Faith had actually hired somebody when she bought the house to come in and do all of this work, and he took a deposit and never showed up." Hardy says the needs were constantly on her mind once she heard the details of Pate's struggle. The work that needed to be done on the home was overwhelming for a working single mom.
Hardy says United Way's Women's Leadership Council had plenty of willing volunteers for cleanup, but this home needed more. "And so Team Turner and United Way partnered up. They provided the funding, and then of course the manpower and some skilled labor that we needed. And we came over and we fixed Faith's shower, where the faucets needed to be fixed. Her son's skylight needed to be fixed where it was leaking, and then we came in and painted. We're still not done," Hardy said.
We find Pate in the kitchen where dark cabinets will soon be sparkling white. A few volunteers from Team Turner, the volunteer group from Turner Industries, are there to ask questions and make sure they doing what Pate, the homeowner, wants.
"Do you want us to take your hardware down on the side," they ask. They're about to paint the cabinets.
Tiffany Temple from Life of a Single Mom is looking in on this session. Temple says she has also been a single mom and says the change here is more than just physical, like fixing leaks and painting walls. It can have an emotional impact on the family!
"I know Faith can tell you herself is she's been even more inspired to share her home and to open up her home and practice hospitality and do other little things to further improve her home," Temple said. "One night, I came over and Faith was hanging new blinds. You know? How exciting is that!"
Pate sits on the couch with her teenage son beside her. Her smile is broad and she's excited. "This was huge, huge, huge, huge," she said. "Because sometimes as a single mom, you kinda' feel forgotten sometimes. You're so caught up in your routine and trying to make sure he's taken care of and everything is what it needs to be, so to have Jennifer Maggio at Life of a Single Mom and Michelle to come in with United Way and Turner, it just warmed my heart, it really, really did. It made me feel like you're not forgotten, there's people out there who are willing to give up their time and their resources to help you. It's just changed my whole outlook on my space and just and it's putting something in me to want to give back in the same way."
When Team Turner finishes, the inside, outside, and even the landscaping of the home will be fresh and new. The Women's Leadership Council has 400 members who already were donating $1,000 or more to United Way from their salaries, but it's the wealth of their networking and their generosity that's changing lives for the better in Baton Rouge.
Louisiana Honda Dealers and Capital Area United Way's Volunteer Center are proud to honor outstanding volunteers in our community like the Women's Leadership Council with the Power of 9 Award.