Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Attendee of Creative Enterprises, Inc. Annie Bourke celebrates after bowling a strike during a game of Wii bowling in Lawrenceville on Tuesday. Clients such as Bourke benefit from McCarthy Builders who donated time, labor, materials to renovate and build out the space for disabled participants to learn and have fun.
LAWRENCEVILLE McCarthy Building Companies, a national enterprise, has earned the distinction of being a company with a heart. Through McCarthy's "Heart Hats" program, the company donates resources of time, management, labor and materials in an effort to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
When key people in the company learned about Creative Enterprises in Lawrenceville, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting disabled adults with developing job and living skills, they went to work. "Heart Hats" volunteers recently completed several improvements to buildings on the Creative Enterprises campus, and more are slated for the near future.
"Creative Enterprises is a collection of inspiring and passionate individuals," said Kevin Kuntz, president of McCarthy's southeast division. "The opportunity to give back to an organization that has given so much to the community made for a memorable experience for the entire McCarthy team."
Over a two-day period, the team of McCarthy volunteers completed renovations that would have taken the non-profit organizations years to obtain funding for, much less to perform. Workers converted four small rooms in what used to be the old American Red Cross Building on Hi Hope Road in Lawrenceville into a large classroom, replaced old carpet, and repaired and painted walls. Plans for future renovations include installing new tile flooring and adding additional shelving in the Creative Enterprises thrift store.
Alp Kirmizioglu, McCarthy project manager for the CEI Heart Hats project, said he gets more from helping other people than he gives to them. "(These projects) allow us to give back to those who are in need. Construction can be a stressful business, but when you go to a place like Creative Enterprises, you see people helping those who are really in need. I always leave these projects with a greater appreciation for what I have."
"These new renovations are a tremendous addition to our center and will serve our current and future clients for years to come, " said Creative Enterprises executive director Leigh McIntosh. "It was so exciting (for clients) to walk into that beautiful new classroom when they first saw it."
McIntosh also said about the McCarthy team of volunteers: "Every single person who came here was excited, inspirational and truly interested in what we're doing here."
The gift of renovations could not have come at a better time, as the sputtering economy has all but eradicated charitable contributions to the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which serves about 100 disabled adults daily.
"We used to have a golf tournament and a ball every year as part of our fundraising efforts, but people just don't have that kind of discretionary income these days," said McIntosh.
While the campus includes a greenhouse and thrift store and even a cat shelter that is open to the public during the week, grants and private donations are a big part of keeping the doors open for the organization.
Creative Enterprises is located at 701 Hi Hope Lane in Lawrenceville. For more information about the non-profit organization and to find out how to help, visit www.ceisite.com or follow them on Facebook.