SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – For more than a century, Boys & Girls Home and Family Services has provided care for local kids who have dealt with traumatic situations. Thanks to a $2.7M grant from the state of Iowa, the non-profit will be able to move their operations into one location where kids can learn, play and grow.
For around a decade, Sioux City’s Indian Hills Shopping Center has been scarcely occupied, but soon that will change.
Boys & Girls Home and Family Services, which provides residential treatment services for children who have been traumatized, moved its family services division into the plaza a year ago. In about a year, they’ll take the rest of their operations with them.
“We’ll be tearing up about 2 acres of asphalt here, and transforming this into a campus for children,” said Art Silva, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Home and Family Services. “They spend their whole day here. Part of their day will be group therapy, and the other part of their day is just being kids. Going to school and being kids.”
The first phase of the project will be complete in just a few days. Boys and Girls Home moved their thrift boutique, Stuff, across the plaza from the strip mall to their family services building. All the proceeds from the store go back into the organization’s operations.
Now that stuff has moved out of the strip, the organization will prepare for its demolition to make way for a new residential building.
“That will contain all of their living quarters,” said Silva. “And the kids will go from their living quarters over to the school and keep it all in one place.”
The school building’s structure is already complete and is next door to the strip. Children living there will be able to go through a tunnel from their living area directly to the school. Staff are confident the new setup will be a refreshing change from the current living situation at the old St. Joseph’s Hospital on Court Street.
“They won’t have to contend with this stigma of being in an old hospital building,” said Silva. “So, as we come over here and tear this up, we want it to be a living, healthy campus.”
The new campus will also include areas to keep kids happy and having fun, such as an activity room, a quiet day room, serenity gardens, a media room and a game room.
Leaders with Boys & Girls Home and Family Services also hope to engage the community with the new campus by holding monthly dinners, where guests can learn about mental health topics.
Organizers also hope to create a community garden called an “Agrihood.”
“We’ll irrigate it,” said Silva. “They need to come in and weed it and stuff. But the public along with our children are going to have a garden that they can share together, and that’s very therapeutic for our kids.”
Right now, the organization’s building on Court Street can accommodate 30 kids.
The organization has plans to accommodate as many as 42 kids when the project is done. Work could be complete by the first quarter of 2024.
The “Stuff” thrift boutique has already moved across the plaza to its new location.
It opens on Wednesday, and will be open from 9-5 Wednesday-Friday, as well as 9-4 on Saturdays.
Copyright 2023 KTIV. All rights reserved.