Last Thursday was a big day for two people. For a single mom, it was the day that she and her two youngsters discovered their 837-square-foot home had been renewed with everything from furniture and art to kitchen supplies and shelves stocked with food.
For Dwell With Dignity Founder/Board Chair Lisa Robison, it was the 200th project that DWD had created since its launch in 2009 to “help families escape poverty and homelessness through design; one household at a time.”
As mom Kimberly Bobb, her kids and relatives arrived at her home, neighbors looked on wondering about all the activities that included local TV videographers and the DWD van in front. The residential street was so crowded with cars parked along the curbs that it became a bit of a traffic jam.
But this day was a long time in the making. It started back with Kimberly’s involvement at Family Gateway that resulted in her getting a job at United Healthcare, creating a monthly budget and paying off her debts within a couple of months.
Even with these notches on her belt, Kimberly’s budget left little room for furnishing the home with more than the bare-bones basics. But Kimberly’s journey was ripe for the type of project that had made DWD “one of the only organizations in the U.S. to provide professional interior design services free of charge to families who have recently exited from other social service programs.”
Before Thursday, 199 families had been nominated by partner agencies like Interfaith Family Services, Family Gateway, Exodus Ministries, CitySquare, Genesis, New Friends New Life, TRAC, Family Place, Shared Housing Center, Promise House and others to receive the services of interior designers, members of the design community and volunteers.
In Kimberly’s case, DWD worked with her for a month beforehand to create a home environment tailor-made to raise her children. Two days before the big reveal, 20 volunteers installed the artwork, furnishings and personal touches that would reflect the little family including Dallas Cowboys in Daniel’s room and the starry universe in D’Arie‘s. Why, in Kimberly’s room there was even a Spa Luxetique’s Tahiti Island bag.
As the Bobbs and their relatives toured the newly refurbished home Thursday afternoon, they were joined by the volunteers, who were like proud parents watching their kids open gifts on Christmas morning. Standing in the front yard watching the entourage enter the home, Lisa looked a bit amazed at her own accomplishment that had brought her together with Kimberly. She smiled and said, “200. Who would have thought it would happen?”
And it wouldn’t have without deserving families and the support of volunteers, members of the Dallas design community and the annual DWD Thrift Studio that is currently popping up at 175 Oak Lawn until Saturday, September 25. After taking Labor Day off, the Studio will open its doors Tuesday with loads of ever-changing furniture, artwork and collectibles. Not only will the items be picked up by savvy shoppers, they’ll also provide the funding for more Kimberlys to have a home-sweet-home.