Local dignitaries and dedicated volunteers visited the Resource Center of Somerset’s Outreach Office to tour the recently renovated counseling office and to help celebrate 35 years of service to people affected by domestic abuse in Somerset County.
The Resource Center’s Outreach Offices have been located at 427 Homestead Road in Hillsborough since 1996. With a very modest budget for facilities improvements, the building received little more than a fresh coat of paint every few years.
Carpets were well worn and repaired with duct tape, walls were damaged and covered up with pictures and wall hangings, and most of the furnishing were a mismatch of desks chairs and tables collected from other people’s homes and offices.
The renovation project began in early 2012. Virginia Smith, Coordinator of the Interior Design program at Raritan Valley Community College, contacted the agency to propose a project for her students to design and decorate the office interior in a way that would enrich the experience of clients visiting the center, reduce anxiety often associated with seeking counseling and enhance the professional credibility of the agency.
As the project got underway, additional community business resources saw ways they could contribute.
“We appreciate the heartfelt response given to the renovations by local businesses that were able to contribute their time, talent and materials and make this project succeed beyond our expectations,” project coordinator Anthony Winchatz, director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Resource Center, said.
Working alongside the RVCC Interior Design students were Riverside Restorations & Remodeling in Manville – carpentry and repairs, Lowes of Hillsborough – building supplies and paint, PVH Corp. – carpeting and installation throughout the hallways and offices, and Verizon Wireless whose employee volunteers painted the 10 counseling offices, hallways and foyer in one day.
Staff members also pitched in to help. Between counseling sessions, they helped paint trim then arranged furniture in the waiting area and in their offices so clients would feel welcome and comfortable.
“We are always so focused on client needs that we easily overlooked the environment where we work and provide services to our clients,” Sue Rivera, Empowerment Case Manager and Facilities Manager, said. “It is so important to create a space where victims of abuse can feel safe and assured they are receiving the best care possible. Their journey to empowerment is made easier when they find confidence in themselves as a result of the respect we give to them.”
“The renovation project was nearly complete when I came to the Resource Center in early May,” Executive Director Christine Schaumburg added, “and it was moving to see the care and concern expressed not only the staff members, but from within the community as well. The agency has always sacrificed to make sure client programs and services were a priority when it came to budgeting. To have this level of support given to us so we can continue to focus on our clients simply fills everyone here with pride and satisfaction.”
The Resource Center of Somerset is proud to celebrate 35 years of commitment to the community; providing programs and services to people affected by domestic abuse in Somerset County. Established in 1978 as the Resource Center for Women and Their Families, the agency began as an outreach project of the Somerset County Community Mental Health Center in response to the need to address the problem of domestic violence.