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    #Impact Project 2017

    For our chapter #Impact project 2017, we are redoing the Richardson office of Pathways Youth and Family Services. Here is some information about the organization and the project.

    Pathways is a non-profit social services organization committed to finding nurturing homes for abused, neglected, or abandoned children in Texas. Serving the community for over 25 years, the organization has grown from a single, small foster home to include a dozen service centers across the state with services including foster care, adoption, crisis intervention, mental and behavioral healthcare, residential and family services, and more. The people at Pathways are truly passionate about helping children.

    See a full list of services at www.pathway.org/about/

    And read more about the inception and growth of this great organization at www.pathway.org/about/the-pathways-story/

    The Dallas Pathways office is an important place to many people. It is often the first place children go when entering the foster care system. These children have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and are facing an uncertain future. They need a space that is welcoming and comforting. Currently, the office is neither.

    Many children return to the center for psychological care via tele-medicine, where they meet with a psychologist by video conference.  This is already a nerve-wracking time for these children, having to talk about past trauma. Right now, they have their meeting in a cramped, bare office after waiting on an old leather couch in a very sterile feeling environment.

    Every month 40+ foster parents and other caregivers receive twenty hours of training in this office. Right now the space has terrible florescent lighting, dingy white walls, basic folding tables, and a collection of mismatched chairs. The environment is so uncomfortable that parents have reported major headaches during training. It is not at all conducive to learning anything much less absorbing and processing all of the important information about how to care for a traumatized child.

    Of course, no one uses the space as much as the five unwavering staff members who work long hours for barely more than minimum wage. These passionate and dedicated individuals are on call 24/7. If I child is in crisis at 2am on a Saturday, the family specialists are there to help. Anyone who has ever worked in a bad office environment understands how draining and depressing it can be. A well designed work environment has been proven to boost the mood and productivity of employees. Improving this office will improve quality of life for these hard working people dedicated to improving the lives of so many others.

    Despite having been in the space more than eight years and being part of a well-established organization, the Dallas Service Center looks like they could pack up and move at any moment. The space looks unprofessional and temporary, giving an impression completely opposed to the stability and dedication of the organization.

    The Interior Design Society (IDS) is an association of professional interior design entrepreneurs and trade partners focused on helping its members grow their businesses, develop their talents, inspire each other, and impact their communities. The Dallas Fort Worth chapter is one of the largest and most active, with many respected and award winning designers among its members. Service to the community has always been an important part of IDS both nationwide and locally.

    The chapter is very excited about this project because it is a great cause and a wonderful example of how design changes lives. These professionals truly understand how an environment can influence its inhabitants in ways both large and small.

    The goal of this project is to make the DFW Pathways Center more professional looking by transforming the office into a highly functional space where visitors feel welcome and secure, knowing they’re in good hands. To achieve this, designers will focus on the four functions of the space: welcoming, hosting, training, and working.

    There will be a welcoming waiting area catering to children and adults. For the adults, this space will require durable comfortable furniture, appealing art and accessories. For the children, designers are looking for smaller scaled furniture as well as books and toys to entertain the kids while they wait.

    The office currently has a sad breakroom which is not only used by staff but also by visitors during long days of training where coffee and refreshments are kept and served. The goal is to make the space inviting and much more functional by replacing old and mismatched shelving with additional storage and counters.

    The largest area is the multipurpose training space. The furniture for this area needs to be commercially rated, similar to what is used in universities or corporate training facilities. Light, narrow training tables on sliders would be ideal for easy reconfiguration. Rolling chairs and additional stacking or folding chairs are also needed. Large markerboards, bulletin wall, and a projector or TV with Bluetooth capabilities would also be welcome additions.

    For the smaller offices, designers will mainly be seeking artwork and other items to make the rooms more appealing. The office where the telemedicine therapy calls take place will need a few items of comfortable, child sized furniture and several stuffed animals, to make the space as soothing as possible.

    In addition to specifics above, the space as a whole needs better lighting, paint, and artwork. Volunteers will be needed for the design committee, as well as to paint, move and install when the time comes. Together we can make this space reflective of the Pathways mission:

    “To create environments where children and families thrive”

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