Children who are in the care of the state often have visits with their parents in one of seven visitation rooms at the Office of Children’s Services (OCS). But over time, those rooms became rundown with peeling paint, broken toys and torn furniture.

Over the weekend, dozens of volunteers worked and transformed the rooms into more welcoming spaces for families to work on reuniting.

"The visitation rooms have been in a state of disrepair and getting progressively worse over the years," OCS regional manager Jessie Jacobs said. "The staff that facilitate the visits here at our office do what they can to keep them clean, but they are heavily trafficked."

Each of the rooms is used regularly, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and sometimes on weekends.

Jacobs has tried for years to come up with cost-effective ways of renovating because there was never any extra money in the office’s budget.

The help she needed came from Beacon Hill, a nonprofit family-support and adoption agency. The organization helped spread the word that OCS was looking to revamp the visitation rooms. It took 40 volunteers just 24 hours to complete the work in all seven rooms.

Each space has its own theme, new toys, furniture, wall hangings and paint. Everything was donated by local businesses and volunteers. 

Bert Feske used to work in security for the building. Now, as Sears’ store manager, Feske says his company donated $900 worth of furniture. 

"When I returned to Sears and I heard about the project, it was definitely something that was near and dear to my heart because I know how valuable this group is to the community," Feske said.

Another group that helped was the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward. Officer Colleen Jones says she saw a post on Facebook.

“A friend had shared it,” she said. “So I thought maybe our prisoners at Spring Creek could build some book shelves. So I asked our superintendent and he said maybe we could do a whole room. So, the prisoners agreed and they bought all the stuff to do a room."

With the room renovations complete, Jacobs has her eye on another project to renovate OCS’s lobby.

Anyone who’d like to donate time, furniture or other materials is asked to contact Jessie Jacobs or Chrissy Vogeley.

Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.