ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A non-profit that helps youths, veterans, and more overcome mental health challenges is partnering with the County to renovate a home and then gift it to an armed services veteran.
This is called “Project 4114” and it started from tragedy. The Chief Executive Director for Marshmallow’s Hope, Laura Kane and John Voiles lost their young boys to suicide. Now they are trying to spread awareness on suicide prevention.
“Promote wellness, mental health wellness by gifting the home to a veteran in need,” Kane said.
Winnebago County acquired the home on Lakin Terrace in 2015 and is working with Marshmallow’s Hope, a group that works to prevent suicide among teens, veterans, current service members and first responders.
“So essentially we’re using the home as a metaphor, right. Often times these kids feel like their broken. The home that we are receiving and are grateful for is broken, but essentially these kids are gonna utilize that, put it back together and then at the end when the house is put back together and beautiful that’s gonna rebuild their own self-a-steam,” Kane said.
“Nobody wanted to own this house. So now to be able to take this, something that nobody wanted and to turn it into a nice veterans homes its a huge win for our community,” said Joseph V. Chiarelli, the Winnebago County Chairman.
Renovation will be extensive. All work will be done by volunteers and those apart of the Marshmallow’s Hope’s program. Funds for the project are all donations from the community.
In November the house will be completed and given to a veteran. This is a project directors hope to continue working on each years.
“This hopefully will be a foundation that she will just keep helping these young kids and helping young people cause that’s really what we need right now,” said Voiles.
There will be a veteran that will get this home that will be, it’ll transform their lives, it’ll be something that will take them from a situation where maybe they have whatever… issues they may have from their service and it’ll elevate them into something positive,” said Scott Lewandowski the Director for Veterans Memorial Hall.
If you are interested in donating or getting involved visit the Marshmallow’s Hope website