HELENA — On Thursday, August 18, Florence Crittenton will be holding a celebration for Project Sunshine. The non-profit is also looking for volunteers to help out that day.
The event is to celebrate and share with the community progress on renovating the Cooney Dr. location. Florence Crittenton Executive Carrie Krepps says since the purchase the organization has moved offices to the building and about half of its child care services.
Krepps tells MTN that Project Sunshine has energized the organization and they are excited to share that excitement with the community.
"I think the project has given us so much hope for the future and been such a bright light for us, " Krepps said, "It really has, at many times, kept us looking to the future and really thinking about how we continue to serve."
Florence Crittenton is a trauma-responsive, relationship-based organization that provides family-centered support during critical times. Through a comprehensive continuum of services, their programs include mental health services, substance use recovery, parenting education, childcare and preschool and access to community supports.
Last December, they purchased a three-acre property off Cooney Drive on Helena's north end to renovate.
The historic property has served Helena residents almost as long as Florence Crittenton. For 40 years, starting in 1870, it housed the Miner's Hospital. Between 1920 and 1961 it was the Lewis and Clark County Hospital. After that, it was a convalescent home until 1984. Florence Crittenton Helena was established in 1896.
Florence Crittenton is calling the Cooney Building project "Project Sunshine." They have set a $7.5 million fundraising goal for renovation. Once finished, Florence Crittenton will be able to house its residential, community and early childhood services at a single location.
Staff says they have already raised more than $3.2 million toward their goal.
Krepps says the renovation project is phased. They have started the design phase and are currently looking a how they will house their all their services at the new location. She also thanked community members for their support.
"We have been here for over 120 years and people have heard me say that we have been through the Great Depression, we went through the first pandemic, we've been through world wars and this organization has stayed opened and served through all that. And that does not happen without the Helena community and the surrounding community in, really, the state here," said Krepps. "We're so grateful to be in a state that supports and understands."
The Project Sunshine celebration will be located at Shades of Green, right next door to the new campus off Cooney Drive.
This celebration is a free fun family event from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will include live music from local band Insufficient Funds, a bounce house, yard games, food trucks, a cash bar as well as ways to get involved in supporting the organization.
About 20 volunteers are needed to cover shifts between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. Duties available include: set up, volunteering at the event and breaking down at the end. More information about volunteer opportunities can be found on the volunteer coordination website.
For more information on Florence Crittenton’s capital campaign to raise funds for the renovation of our new campus please visit www.projectsunshine.info.