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Rockwall Boys & Girls Club gets extreme makeover from big accounting firm for new school year

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By J.J. Smith. Just in time for the new school year, the Rockwall Boys & Girls Club has received an extreme makeover inside their 59-year-old Dobbs Elementary Annex building just west of Harry Myers Park, thanks to the extreme generosity of the Dallas office of the nation’s largest accounting firm.

The makeover was completed by over 450 PricewaterhouseCoopers volunteer accountants who donated their time – about $120,000 worth of labor – repainting and re-flooring 18,000 sq. ft. of hallways and class rooms, including the Teen Zone video game room, computer room, art room and more.

To do it, the accounting firm purchased 600 gallons of Behr paint, 50 gallons of epoxy, plus thousands of paint rollers, brushes and other supplies worth approximately $31,000 from the Rockwall Home Depot store.

Home Depot then discounted the total by $8,000, according to Home Depot Pro Shop manager Ken Harrison, who said it was the largest project the Rockwall Home Depot store has ever participated in.

At the accounting firm’s request, Harrison also directed and supervised the volunteer project, with help from Behr Paint account manager Brent Glenn.

“It was something I truly enjoyed doing,” Harrison said. “I’m lucky to work for a company that lets me do something like this.”

“I can’t give enough credit to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Some volunteers were more experienced with the work than others, but they all did a fantastic job, especially considering they were all accountants!”

Harrison also gave credit to Glenn and Behr Paint.

“With one phone call, Behr agreed to help at the snap of a finger and donated all the support in the world to the project,” he said.

“Behr made our job so much easier because the paint they furnished was new one-coat Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint – containing a built-in primer – which allowed the volunteers to apply just one coat instead of having to first prime the walls and then paint over the primer. The new paint made it possible to paint white over such colors as dark red, dark blue and purple.”

Glenn said he and Behr were thrilled to be able to participate in this large project.

“The Boys & Girls Club is such a great cause,” he said.

The accounting firm actually completed the project in just two full Fridays, said Harrison. Before beginning the work, he organized the volunteers into numerous teams and showed them how to properly prep and paint the walls, plus strip and apply epoxy to the floors. He said the work went quite smoothly.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Misti Holly, the accounting firm’s office services supervisor.

“We turned something that looked old into something that looks great!”

“Plus, it was so much fun! The accountants bragged about their work for days to one another.”

Rockwall Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Nan Ross said she is thrilled with the work.

“It looks absolutely wonderful,” she said. “The halls and classrooms look so much better now!”

“With the lighter colors, the hallways and rooms look so much brighter and cleaner,” she said. “We’re very excited!”

The service project began last spring when staff members at PricewaterhouseCoopers began looking across DFW for a good service project which could accommodate hundreds of volunteers. 

“It wasn’t easy to find a project that would accommodate nearly 500 volunteers, said Holly. “There aren’t that many big projects around.”

After PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Debbie McKibben, project co-chair Brandy Grady and Holly learned about the Boys & Girls Club’s renovation needs, they visited the Rockwall facility and decided to move forward with the makeover. Next step was to meet with Pro Shop manager Harrison. Soon after, they scheduled two work dates.

Ross said she can’t believe what a difference the makeover has made. “It almost feels new,” she said.

A former teacher, Better Business Bureau director and non-profit public relations consultant, Ross was hired to direct the Club in April, 2007. When she first arrived, there were only about 50 children enrolled, after the Club had first opened in 2005.

But by last May that number had zoomed to over 400 children, with an average of 164 per day. She expects to exceed 500 children this fall, with a daily cap of 200.

“If you build it they will come,” she said, smiling. “I love what I do. I have a passion for the Boys & Girls Club. It is very rewarding. Plus we have great board members and staff!”

“I’ve been here long enough now to have seen many positive changes in our children and parents. The children have so much fun here every afternoon after school that they don’t even realize that they’re learning. This is not a daycare operation. It’s a youth development center.”

“Our Boys & Girls Club is a safe, positive place for children, where they can feel loved, where we will listen to them and where there is absolutely no bullying or being made fun of by other kids. Everybody has different talents and abilities, which they can explore here. Nobody is ever considered stupid.”

 She said they offer a unique program, which kids are excited to come to, where they can all find something they like – including art, drama, music, gardening, martial arts, color-guard and more.

Classes are taught by adult volunteers who have been carefully screened.

She said enrollment only costs $25 per year per child, for ages 6 through 18. The center is open during the school year every Monday through Thursday, from 3 to 7 pm, and every Friday, from 3 until 10 pm, when they also hold pizza parties.

There is an extra $2 charge Fridays, from 7 to 10 pm. The Club is closed on weekends.

For more information about the Rockwall Boys and Girls Club, call 972-772-2462 or visit www.rockcountyclub.org.

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