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Contest gives back to community’s givers
by Jessica Garcia
Apr 17, 2009 | 1300 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href= mailto:dreid@dailysparkstribune.com>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - Alexis Holmes, 19, with her therapy dog Mr. Shivers at the Children's Cabinet teen drop-in center. The University of Phoenix student uses the center's free internet for her studies in criminal justice.
Tribune/Debra Reid - Alexis Holmes, 19, with her therapy dog Mr. Shivers at the Children's Cabinet teen drop-in center. The University of Phoenix student uses the center's free internet for her studies in criminal justice.
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<a href= mailto:dreid@dailysparkstribune.com>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - "It's awesome," Nercy Alfaro, 17, said of the Children's Cabinet teen drop-in center. "The staff is friendly and help me on anything I need." The Sparks High student was using the center's free internet to research Cleopatra for a school report.
Tribune/Debra Reid - "It's awesome," Nercy Alfaro, 17, said of the Children's Cabinet teen drop-in center. "The staff is friendly and help me on anything I need." The Sparks High student was using the center's free internet to research Cleopatra for a school report.
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<a href= mailto:dreid@dailysparkstribune.com>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> -  A student's artistic talent is apparent in his mural at the Children's Cabinet teen drop-in center.
Tribune/Debra Reid - A student's artistic talent is apparent in his mural at the Children's Cabinet teen drop-in center.
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After just one year, the Children’s Cabinet location on Silverada Boulevard has already outgrown its facilities to serve area youth who need a place to go to and mingle with friendly adults and peers.

“The drop-in room, depending on what day it is, often has 20 to 30 kids,” youth program coordinator Taylor Morgan said. “It’s bursting at the seams.”

Staff are now looking to relocate from the facility on the Reno/Sparks border, though they are not sure where or when it would happen. When it does, Morgan said it would be nice not to have to dedicate money for the purchase and remodeling solely from the Children Cabinet’s overhead fund.

That’s why it would be a boon to win the Sparks-based HSP Painting Co.’s second annual Charity Makeover contest, Morgan said. The Children Cabinet is one of four local non-profit organizations in the running for a community vote on locals’ favorite charity to provide $10,000 in painting and remodeling services.

The four nominees include the Children’s Cabinet, Northern Nevada HOPES, STEP2 and RSVP.

Northern Nevada HOPES offers clinical and social services, such as free HIV testing, to the public.

STEP2 provides comprehensive treatment and recovery services for chemically dependent women and their families, as well as care for pregnant and parenting women and their children.

RSVP, or the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Washoe County, provides opportunities for adults 55 and older to connect with public entities and non-profits.

HSP owner and CEO PJ Guarino said his company has nothing to do with the selection of nominees, both at the beginning and end of the contest.

Guarino said HSP received a list of about 15 nominees from the Sparks Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s executive director, Len Stevens, recommended in January those non-profits he felt were deserving of remodeling and HSP then narrowed that list down to about eight, following up with an interview of each charity.



“I think people appreciate that we’re trying to do something in spite of the economy,” Guarino said. “We look at the ones nominated and they’re certainly affected. Charities do a lot of good things for the community.”

The painting company collected brief blurbs from each nominee about why they felt they would be a good candidate for the services – that is, if they’re interested.

“Sometimes they tell us they don’t need it and would rather it go to someone else,” Guarino said. “They’re all amicable.”

Morgan said the Children’s Cabinet’s staff of 25 are dedicated to helping local youth from ages 8 to 21 with a focus on high school teens and called its drop-in center their home away from home.

“They can come in and hang out and we do have organized activities,” Morgan said. “We have team-building stuff with youth, leadership activities, computer access if they want to do homework or job searches. We do job training skills with them and bring in guest speakers to talk with kids on issues.”

The center’s growth is likely attributable to current economic conditions in which kids need less expensive means of socializing, Morgan said, but Sparks’ and Reno’s growth brings in more kids as well.

“We’re having to provide more with less,” he said.

The needs vary among the non-profits, but essentially the contest prize provides for a common purpose: to provide a more welcoming, clean look for potential donors, protect the architecture and save the organization from spending additional money later as a result of aging exteriors.

According to Guarino, Reno’s Washoe Arc, last year’s winner, needed new paint not just for aesthetics, but to keep the facilities in good health.

“The outside of the building hadn’t been painted in 20 years,” Guarino said. “The painting’s not just for cosmetics, but it helps protect surfaces.”

While painting is HSP’s specialty, it will also assist with minor drywall or carpeting after an inspection of the facilities. Employees contribute time and their skills to helping in whatever capacity they can. Nearly 50 employees helped with Washoe Arc with about 10 sprayers, Guarino said.

“Construction is a large industry in Nevada,” Guarino said. “We’ve all made our living doing that and we still wanted to give back.”

According to a statement from Northern Nevada HOPES, the $10,000 would be useful in a fresh coat of paint for the walls in a dated building to maintain a clean and sterile environment.

“Since this is the first point of contact for new clients and our existing 800-plus clients, we would like it to be more professional in its appearance,” the statement said. “Clients are already dealing with the fear of HIV/AIDS along with the stigma that goes with it. A professional, sterile, clinical environment helps put them at ease.”

Guarino said the makeover is a tradition the company plans to continue in the future.

“This is the second time we’ve done this and we didn’t have any doubt we were going to do this,” he said. “Everyone feels like they’re giving back.”

To vote for one of the four charities, go online to www.hsppainting.com/vote. Polls close on May 25. At an HSP Charity Alliance event on May 27, the charity with the most support will be awarded the $10,000 makeover. The remodeling work then begins in the fall, Guarino said.
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