Friendship Haven gets $420,000 grant

Friendship Haven has been awarded a $420,000 grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority via the city of Fort Dodge.

The funds will go toward construction of a new one-story building for its Generations Adult Day Program, according to Julie Thorson, Friendship Haven’s chief executive officer and president.

“I feel just overwhelmed that we were recognized,” Thorson said. “There were 44 applicants and only five grants were awarded in this category, and to be one of those five it just really says a lot about the program and what we’re trying to do.”

Generations serves 29 people daily, on average, with more than 60 persons enrolled in the program, according to Amy DeLanoit, program director.

“We are going to be expanding potentially maybe some other programming we may have, maybe overnight programming, maybe early cognitive loss programs for people with early stage dimension,” DeLanoit said. “Those kinds of things.”

The new Generations building will be constructed between the Tompkins Health Center and Iowa Central Community College, replacing a portion of a parking lot west of the health center.

“It’ll be great for those clients,” Thorson said. “We have always made do with existing buildings, and to have something for those clients that is their own and they can feel some ownership of it and have some exciting programming.”

Generations serves clients 18 years or older. Its a way for them to receive personal care and enjoy activities during the day, according to Thorson.

“It’s also a way for them to enjoy their day and find fun things to do throughout the day. And it gives a loved one that may be a primary caregiver for them a respite, so they can come for half a day or full day,” she said. “It’s become a second family to those clients.”

The program, DeLanoit said, truly serves as a haven for friendship.

“It’s a place where you can partake in Friendship Haven for just a day, as opposed to living here,” she said, “To take place in activities and have a good meal, play BINGO, swim in the pool, have Bible study, play cards, all different kinds of things.”

DeLanoit said she was “ecstatic and elated” when she heard Friendship Haven had been awarded the grant.

“It was complete elation, the fact that we were going to be able to continue this mission,” she said.

The new building could take advantage of its proximity to the adjacent DART bus line, Thorson said.

“We may have after hours events there, or weekend events there when we don’t have Generations going during the day,” she said.

Planning for the project begins today, Thorson said.

“There’s probably a few more hoops for us to jump through and that’s the first step, when we find out how the funds will be administered,” she said.

Thorson expects the project to be completed by the end of December.

“It’s aggressive,” she said, “but I’m confident once we get the formalities done it will go up very quickly.”