Aspiranet has worked for years to connect local foster children to loving, lifelong families.
But in the years spent working, the nonprofit's 151 E. Canal Dr. Turlock home had become a bit rundown.
“We have known for a while that the paint on our building was cracking,” said Sandra Genova, District Director of Aspiranet.
Aspiranet simply didn't have the funding to repaint the worn building, which it has occupied for more than a decade.
But earlier this year, a Lowe's representative contacted Aspiranet with news about the home improvement chain's “Heroes” program. Each store offers $1,000 worth of supplies to a local non-profit or public school each year, plus free labor from Lowe's employee volunteers.
Aspiranet employee Janna Sivils filled out a detailed application, with photos of cracking paint and a little humor to make the application memorable.
Aspiranet learned in July that it had been selected. When Genova broke the news to her staff during a meeting, the excitement was overwhelming.
“Right away, people were saying, 'What can we do to help?'” Genova said.
Staff from Lowe's were hard at work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, painting the Aspiranet building a bright, welcoming shade of blue and completely making over the outside planters. Not only that, but the crew also replaced a broken fan in the women's restroom.
Most of the time, Aspiranet staff remained hard at work inside, finding foster homes, adopting out children, and locating transitional housing for newly emancipated foster children. Sure, they sneaked out from time-to-time to help Lowe's where they could, but the staff's attention remained on more pressing matters.
“Clients always come first here,” Genova said.
Aspiranet has operated in Turlock for more than 25 years, finding children the family where they have the best chance to be successful. The massive nonprofit has operated in California for more than 37 years.
The one problem Aspiranet staff always saw was the same – the front office just wasn't welcoming. Children all gravitated toward a train set, the only kid-friendly item in an otherwise bland office.
“They need a more comfortable and less sterile environment to be received into,” Sivils said.
And now, thanks to Lowe's, the children will have that.
“This work wouldn't have been done if we didn't have the help from Lowe's,” Sivils said.