McKinley House Open House

Unveiling The IKEA Makeover!

McKinley Open House 2Thursday August 27, 2015. The grand unveiling of BOSS’s McKinley Family Transitional House, which was recently awarded a $10,000 makeover of new furniture and appliances from IKEA, was held on Thursday!

In February of this year, after being submitted for consideration by BOSS staff, McKinley House was nominated by IKEA employee Jamarr to be part of the annual customer-voted IKEA Life Improvement Challenge. Three local programs would be put up on the Emeryville store website, to be voted on for a two week period.

“I nominated McKinley House because I was a foster child,” said Jamarr. “If my parents had an opportunity like the residents at the McKinley House, I might not have ended up in the foster care system.”

BOSS promoted the competition on its website, social media, and in emails, and thanks to everyone who voted for BOSS, McKinley House received the most votes and was awarded the facility makeover!

Living room couchIKEA staff Lisa Ciccoli and a team of IKEA designers worked closely with BOSS Property Operations Manager Eric Zibbel and Program Manager Rae Suber-Johnson to identify high priority needs—including a complete set of furnishings for one empty unit, new appliances for other units, sprucing up the laundry room, and extensive outdoor landscaping, with a new patio set.

At the Open House, BOSS staff and McKinley residents gave tours of the beautifully renovated space for guests that City of Berkeley staff, BOSS donors and supporters, former BOSS Board Member Cheryl Fragiadakis, former BOSS Employment Coordinator & Berkeley Library Trustee Winston Burton, City of Berkeley Art Ambassador Susan Felix, and others. Current BOSS Board Members Dan Scarola and Loren Jones were also on hand, and Lisa from IKEA spent the whole afternoon with us, giving staff and Board the chance to share our gratitude for IKEA’s amazing generosity!

Thanks to Eric’s handiwork on the BBQ grill, everyone munched on hot dogs, chips, and fruit, and enjoyed the late afternoon sun in the courtyard—formerly an empty, dusty patchwork of dirt and brown grass, now a family-friendly usable space for outdoor gatherings, with brick path, patio set, BBQ, and drought-resistant plants.

DeskThank you very much to everyone who voted for BOSS, to the amazing men and women at IKEA who spearheaded this project, and to Eric and his work crew for the hands-on transformation!

The children, women, and men at McKinley House will enjoy the beautiful renovations as a refuge of warmth and safety while they seek jobs and permanent homes of their own—our surroundings matter deeply to our mental health, especially for children: thank you for making this transformation possible!

To contribute money or goods to McKinley House, call Sonja or Gwen at (510) 649-1930 x 1008 or 1001. To volunteer, call Jeannie at (510) 649-1930 x 1002.