Church group helps
youth shelter and wins award
Our Place wins
Express Staff Writer
Annual USA Weekend magazine’s Make A Difference Day lived up to its name
for a church in Hailey and an unknown amount of teens who may be in need
of emergency shelter.
Jean Girvan stands in front of the Our Place youth shelter in Hailey, for which she earned a $10,000 grant from USA Weekend magazine’s Make A Difference Day.
Express photo by David N. Seelig
Difference Day, sponsored by USA Weekend in partnership with The Points of
Light Foundation, recognizes Americans who undertake community-based
projects that address local problems .
Make a Difference Day is advertised in August, in 581 different papers in
the syndicated magazine, which is published by Gannett.
Girvan, an English born resident of Hailey, saw the advertisements, and
decided to apply for one of the grants.
went to see Emmanuel Episcopal Church’s rector, Jennifer Anttonen.
Girvan, who runs Emmanuel’s Thrift Shop in Hailey, also enlisted a
fellow church member, Kim Garvin.
something, Girvan remembers saying, "I thought raking leaves or
the following day Eric Thomas, the acting director of Our Place, a youth
shelter in Hailey, also went to see Anttonen for advice. He was frustrated
with the slowness of the project ¾ including rebuilding the small house
¾ and getting the state and town to come on board. Anttonen immediately
phoned Girvan and told her she’d found her project.
was so peculiar, everything fell into place just as if it was
at the house to see what needed done—redecorating, furniture, plumbing.
After that Girvan sent off an application to Make a Difference Day, with a
200-word essay on "why we were doing it and what we were doing."
it was a matter of dealing with the job at hand—painting, and renovating
the house, getting donations and moving in the furniture. The shelter is
still not officially opened. They are waiting on one last state license,
from the Department of Health and Welfare.
all red tape," Girvan said. "We seem to get bumped at every
did have an open house in December to introduce the facility to the
public. Then, said Girvan, "We more or less got everything organized,
sent another form to Make a Difference, with a 500-word essay as to what
we had done, how many volunteers we had, who was involved and all the
made a scrap book with photos of before and after and sent that in with
the essay. I more or less forgot about it, not thinking we stood a
early January she received a phone call from USA Weekend, checking up that
they were who they said were. In all, they received six such
February, she received a call from Pam Brown, the editor of USA Weekend
magazine, in Virginia, telling her that they’d won one of the $10,000
grants—out of 10 in the whole in the country. All of the national grants
are funded by proceeds from actor Paul Newman’s company, Newman’s Own.
was so amazing, little Hailey—to win one of the ten prizes. I phoned
Jennifer, who screamed down the phone at me; phoned Kim, who also screamed
down the phone at me. Nobody could believe it. Eric was quite
television interview conducted at Our Place with Girvan, Thomas, Garvin
and Anttonen was aired March 17 by the ABC affiliate in Boise.
ladies will be presented an award April 21, conduct an interview for
national press and, most importantly, receive a check. "It gives them
a good start," Girvan said. "It’s money in the bank."
Our Place is tentative scheduled to open the second week of April.