After a 16-month journey, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) celebrated the grand opening of two renovated classroom spaces at People Serving People’s homeless shelter on April 13 in Minneapolis. Members of its community service committee had donated their time and efforts to the project, which will be used by children staying in the shelter.
People Serving People is Minnesota’s largest and most comprehensive shelter for families experiencing homelessness. Hundreds of children used its classrooms last year for after-school activities and enrichment programs.
“The American Society of Interior Designers-Minnesota is proud to give back to People Serving People, which serves more than 1,000 families facing homelessness every year,” said Jackie Millea, chair of the ASID-Minnesota community service committee. “Renovating People Serving People’s education and enrichment classrooms was a perfect opportunity for our designers and industry partners to put good design toward a greater cause. We thank People Serving People for working so closely with us over the past months to complete this project. It is our hope that these classrooms will serve as meaningful and healing spaces for the children and volunteers who use them for years to come.”
Volunteers from ASID-Minnesota launched the classroom renovation project in January 2016. The community-centered design phase incorporated design ideas from ASID-Minnesota designers and students from St. Catherine University. The designers then worked with People Serving People to refine the plans to best fit the needs of staff, volunteers, and children at the facility.
The design of the classrooms incorporates the principles of trauma-informed care, featuring flexible spaces that are designed with natural elements and lighting to mimic the therapeutic components of the outdoors. One is geared toward group activities, while the second is designed for one-on-one tutoring and instruction, such as reading practice.
“With these renovated classrooms, People Serving People can ensure that children staying with us are learning and healing in the best environment possible,” said Matthew Johnson, People Serving People’s former education services coordinator. “Thank you to ASID-Minnesota for partnering with People Serving People to give some of our community’s most vulnerable kids a soothing and educational place to learn and grow. We appreciate the generous support of the many designers, donors, and partners who made this vision a reality.”
Fundraising for the project was completed by ASID-Minnesota members and Shelter Architecture led the management and completion of the renovation. ASID-Minnesota also led a book drive for the shelter to ensure that every child could take a book home following their stay.