Renovations Soon to Get Underway for Friendship House in Donalsonville

Published 4:15 pm Friday, August 21, 2015

8-18-15 Duane and Justin - Dville Friendship House 2

Duane Watson (left) and Justin Gravlee examine the location of the new Friendship House in Donalsonville.

Duane Watson, Relationship Manager at Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, delivered a donation today to Justin Gravlee, Ministry Operations Director with the Friends Ministries, the organization that operates the Friendship House of Jesus in Bainbridge. The money will be used to kickoff renovations at the Rambeau Gymnasium, where, over the next few months, the facility will be turned into a special place where children and teens from the Donalsonville area will have access to free afterschool ministry services and recreational activities and programs.

“Our goal is to create a place where kids feel safe; where they can learn and grow and where the programs we offer will lead them to becoming successful, contributing citizens of our communities,” Gravlee said. “We began Friendship House in Bainbridge and 24 years later, we are not only seeing the benefits in terms of the children we were able to help, but with the community in general. Our goal is the same here—to help underprivileged children now so they grow up to be productive, responsible, happy, and community-minded.”

According to Gravlee, his organization is hoping the facility, which was leased from the City of Donalsonville, will be completely renovated no later than spring of next year. And while donations to the project have started to come in, Gravlee wants potential donors to know that The Community Foundation of South GA Inc. is matching donations up to $75,000. Gravlee said he expects the project’s cost to total about $150,000.

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“We have seen first-hand how the Friendship House has positively impacted our community in Bainbridge,” Watson said. “Southwest Georgia Farm Credit serves the farmers and agribusinesses of Seminole County, and we felt this project makes great sense—it’s a terrific opportunity for our local kids, for their families, and for the community.”

Southwest Georgia Farm Credit’s donation will be used to spruce up the lobby area—a fresh coat of paint and new cabinetry will create a bright and cheerful welcome.

“The bottom line for us is that this is an identified need in the community, and when and where we can help—even if it’s just a little bit—we’re honored and humbled to do it,” Watson said.