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Helping a house feel like "home"

Photo courtesy Ahsle Neunsing. Pictured (L to R) Charlie Hugo, Ashle Neunsinger, Ryan Tapio, Mara Laub (front), Amanda Symes
Photo courtesy Ahsle Neunsing. Pictured (L to R) Charlie Hugo, Ashle Neunsinger, Ryan Tapio, Mara Laub (front), Amanda Symes

Five Augsburg students are helping turn a house into “home” for women and children at a shelter in Eagan, Minn. Through the month of March, the students are collecting clothing, bedding, personal care items, and toys and games for residents of Lewis House.

For their “Engaging Minneapolis” project in small group communication, the students chose to learn about resources available to abused women in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro. They found Lewis House, a shelter run by the Community Action Council of Scott and Dakota counties, and went there to meet Doreen Ulrich, the program director.

“It wasn’t what I expected,” said Ahle Neunsinger ’09 [second from left]. “I thought it would just be a big room with beds, but it was a comfortable house with private rooms.”

Lewis House serves women and children who feel threatened or unsafe because of a partner’s behavior. The shelter provides a safe, confidential environment for families to find services and long-term housing solutions.

Many women arrive at Lewis House, sometimes by police escort or when fleeing a violent situation, with little to no personal items. After they toured the house and met some of the residents, the students decided to collect donations. “Lewis House needs to feel like home,” said Amanda Symes ’09 [far right], “to show the residents that there is a place they can be safe.”

Both Neunsinger and Symes said they learned more about the issue of abused women through their small group project, but they also learned about the importance of volunteering. “It’s not that difficult to help,” said Symes. After graduation, Neunsinger plans to give more of her time to Lewis House. “They always need volunteers.”

Lewis House needs:

  • bath towels, wash cloths
  • twin sheets, comforters, and pillowcases
  • diapers
  • infant formula – all varieties
  • baby bottles/nipples
  • craft supplies (markers, crayons, construction paper, special kits)
  • school supplies (notebooks, folders, back packs)
  • educational toys, puzzles, videos and learning games
  • toothbrushes/toothpaste/floss
  • old cell phones with chargers
  • women and youth clothing (any age, gently used or new)

The students will be collecting donations at a table in Christensen Center (watch A-mail for details). Donations can also be dropped off in the Enrollment Center. Contact Ashle Neunsing, for more information.


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