“A precious gift to Bridgeport and the HIV/AIDS community”, Nancy Kingwood, Director of HIV Services for the Greater Bridgeport Area Prevention Program, was selected as Her Haven’s first client in 2009. Nancy shared her modest Bridgeport home with her daughter and twin 3 year old granddaughters, and had no space just for her. Studying, writing her sermons, compiling her training manuals, reading and praying were all done in her bedroom, with her books, papers and materials all stored underneath her bed.
Nancy was looking for a space in her “small but very busy home that reflected [her] personality and desire to serve God through serving [her] community… A place to sit, read, write and pray.”
Inspired by this amazing woman who was doing so much in her community and for her own family, Her Haven Founder Carey Dougherty set about converting a small storage room in Nancy’s lower level into a comfortable, serene work space. To lay the foundation for the new room, Carey enlisted the help of some wonderful local contractors: she laid new flooring, replaced the door and added trim (Casey’s Carpentry and Wilton Handyman), had new electrical outlets and overhead lighting installed (Breakwater Electric), and added a fresh coat of paint to the walls, ceiling and trim (Bill Schiebe Painting).
Next Carey had to confront the challenge of an unattractive electrical box, so she designed a custom valance that covered two adjoining walls, softening the corner and hiding the box (Anne Lee Window Design). Finally, Carey sourced accessories and furnishings in a wide array of materials and textures to create interest without clutter and provide the soothing and serene “haven” Nancy was hoping for. As an added bonus, Carey received several donated items from Ayindisa, a fair trade retailer whose name means “God’s hand is in the work that you do.”
After receiving her newly designed room, Nancy expressed how, in this quiet space, she was able to listen to her “still, small voice inside” and make many life changes: Marriage, pursuing a Master’s degree, and opening her own consulting firm. Nancy wrote to Carey about the impact her new room had on her life:
I have prayed for a space in my small yet busy house where I can spend time in His presence. God also answers prayers by sending His angels and He sent one in the name of Her Haven… It is in this space where I can hear the voice of God giving me guidance and reflection. It is a place where I can finally sit and be still.
Nancy believes she received a great gift in this room makeover, but the truth is, she gave us a much greater one: The inspiration to turn Her Haven into a nonprofit, where we can honor many more women like her.
Thank you, Nancy, for all you have done, for what we know you will continue to do for your community, and for encouraging Her Haven to continue on her journey.