Non-profit Spotlight: Doors2Change
Doors2Change is more than a helping hand. It works locally in Polk County and in the villages of Guatemala to bring homes up to current safety standards, teach gardening, provide food, and engage social services and life skills where possible.
Doors2Change is a ministry that locks arms with other organizations to meet the needs of many residents in the local region. Opened in Polk County in 2011, it picked up partner in outreach efforts, Servant Ministry of Guatemala, in 2014.
The objectives of Doors2Change is to lend a lifting hand to low-income, elderly, and single parent homes.
“To find what the need is, you have to ask the real questions first. Then, it requires the county, city, and individuals to save our villages in Polk,” says Executive Director Jane Waters Thomas.
Many partnerships with government, nonprofit and for-profit agencies make it possible to paint out poverty, bring homes to safety, and restore hope.
“Real change requires time spent with individuals. It is more than just painting a house. It is finding the needs of the residents,” says Julie Revell, assistant director.
All families deserve the chance for real change and the possibility beyond what they can imagine. Thomas says there will never be enough funding to meet all of the needs in some of the most desolate and impoverished communities.
“However, because we have so many that love and show up in force, we see amazing transformation happen in the lives of those we touch,” she says. “Currently we are working in the specific communities of Eloise, Florence Villa, Bartow, and Highland City. And we do special projects as they arise in other communities. All of our new programming is based on available funding and volunteers.”
The outreach of this organization is needed because of extreme home safety needs found within the local region.
“When we first began, Doors2Change was only going to be a community arts and beautification project within the Arts Ensemble Education Foundation,” Thomas says. “That all changed on the very first home when what we found was more than we could have ever anticipated. Holes in floors, toilets that were held up by one 2×4, kitchen sinks that were falling apart, plumbing that didn’t work, electrical issues that shocked children when they touched their stove. We definitely could not have imagined the cost of such a necessary program, either.”
“It does not require a plane ticket,” Thomas continues. “I often say, to find impoverished living conditions beyond what you can believe, you only need to drive 10 minutes in any direction.”
The greatest challenge for the organization is two-fold, Thomas says. Funding will always remain the greatest issue and limits their ability to do more and stay longer with each family. Secondly, volunteers are needed that have a heart for working on homes and with families.
“It is my hope that we are the first thought for churches and individuals who know of the needs that exist. If we cannot do it alone then we stand in partnership to help others make safe living possible.