Celebrate! Dedication, Ribbon-Cutting and Community Open House

Safe Haven Family Shelter celebrated its official grand reopening on Tuesday, Aug. 27, with a ribbon-cutting event at the newly expanded facility. The shelter recently completed an extensive renovation project to redesign the facility and support more families in need. The dedication and open house celebrated the time and resources given by many to make our expansion possible.

SCL_7055Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who has been an aggressive advocate in the fight against homelessness in Nashville, was on hand to speak to the crowd and oversee the ribbon-cutting. He congratulated Safe Haven expanding our building and services to serve more homeless families. “This expansion took a lot of faith, courage and prayer,” said Mayor Dean. “Safe Haven is the real deal. Open your wallets and purses to this organization to help them Widen their Welcome.”

Before the renovation was completed, Safe Haven Family Shelters served between 38-50 families with children annually. The shelter now has the capacity to serve between 75 and 100 families yearly. Safe Haven Family Shelter works to help families out of homelessness by offering comprehensive and evidence-based programs including case management, counseling, employment readiness classes and coaching, enrichment activities, children’s education support, and additional housing options including transitional housing and rapid re-housing.building-drawing-300x169

The shelter’s renovations included ten family rooms with designated spaces for children’s play, teen activities, tutoring, homework and study, computer usage and classes, and therapy, as well as multi-functional spaces for a variety of activities engaging families and volunteers.

“Increasing the functionality of our shelter has been a long-term vision. We needed to update our facility to serve more families, increase efficiency with our use of space, and provide enhanced services to families residing in the shelter.” Safe Haven Family Shelter Executive Director Joyce Lavery said. “We’ve raised more than  75% of our campaign goal, and the response from the community has been incredible. Our neighbors and supporters know that an investment in Safe Haven is indeed an investment in Nashville.”

Looking back as well as forward…

While we commemorate our new Safe Haven Family Shelter facilities, we also remember that at the heart of this place – both physically and symbolically, – is our former shelter that served so many families so capably for many years. We look back with thanks and fondness on the many families, volunteers and staff who have served this organization and its organizational ancestors for about 30 years. Much of that service occurred on this site at the old shelter.

SCL_6996We have tried in recent months to look back as well as forward as we attempt to appreciate what Safe Haven is all about. We plan to honor Safe Haven founder Winnie McKenzie at our annual Dancing for Safe Haven event in the spring. Though Winnie is no longer with us, we recently had the privilege of visiting with Sam Hollis, her former co-worker at Safe Haven for more than 15 years. Sam took a tour of this facility recently. “When we have a great part in starting something or any new venture, and we have to leave that behind , you worry will it be what you envisioned,” said Sam. “I can truly say you and your team are not on track with what I had as a vision, but you have exceeded in every way much further than I envision.” Those words mean so much to us as we consider Sam, Winnie and our other predecessors as our role models, and we strive each day to do what we hope is in the spirit of the organization you helped launch.

Photo Gallery from the Dedication and Open House…

Widening Our Welcome…

Check out this video to see the story of Widening Our Welcome

Widen Our Welcome Summer 2013 from Safe Haven Family Shelter on Vimeo.

Please consider a gift to support our capital campaign. Thank you for creating more new beginnings for homeless families. Click here to make a gift.

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