For nearly 35 years, the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Mobile, Ala., has helped thousands of child abuse victims get the much-needed support they need. So when the CAC directors reached out for assistance in repairing and updating portions of the center, members of the local remodelers council were eager to help.
"I’ve known the folks who run the center for years and I know they do incredible work within a very challenging field," said John Thomas, president of TCM Remodelors, Inc., in Mobile. "So I've always told them to give me a call anytime they need something and we'll do everything we can to help."
The CAC is located within an older home that was converted many decades ago into a commercial building. Over the years, the building has undergone a variety of changes and additions. But many areas of the original structure had not been updated in a very long time — particularly the main bathroom for visitors, which was the reason the CAC reached out to Thomas.
"At first, they just wanted us to come take a look and give them some suggestions," said Thomas, who serves as the chairman of the Remodelors Council of the HBA of Metro Mobile. "But the bathroom was in such bad shape, I told them they'd need to tear it out and redo the whole thing. I knew this was an opportunity for [the Remodelors Council] to step in."
The job would align perfectly with "The Give Back Project," which the HBA launched earlier in the year as an ongoing initiative to seek out renovation projects and other opportunities to support the local community. So with the support of the HBA and the Remodelors Council, Thomas quickly formed a group of members who were willing and able to donate time, materials and expertise in transforming the CAC's bathroom into a safer and more pleasing space.
"We wanted to give it a design that would be especially appealing for children," Thomas said. "So as the project evolved, a nautical theme emerged, which adds both a calming and fun affect."
Ultimately, the space was completely redone from floor to ceiling, with all new tile floors, recessed LED lighting, and a large free-standing sink and matching children's step stool. Additionally, a large table was hand-crafted by a member carpenter to act as both a diaper changing table and a storage space.
The project lasted about four weeks during the spring of 2022. It was only the latest charitable effort for the CAC on behalf of the HBA, and it won't be the last: Thomas says there are already plans to install new flooring, as well as paint and refinish other various rooms throughout the CAC in early 2023.
"I mean, why not, since we already have the momentum going," Thomas said. "The people who work there are such an inspiration — we couldn't do what they do. But what I can do is help keep that building in good shape in order to help them do their job."