By Mallorie Ann Ingram
DON AND JULIE HERNDON ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE BY GIVING BACK AND HELPING CHILDREN IN THE COMMUNITY.
When it comes to giving back to the community, Don and Julie Herndon, owners of Classic Wood Flooring, have a passion for serving and helping children in need. It all started with an introduction between the Herndons and Kim Frodge, the founder of Nana’s House, a nonprofit organization for abandoned and abused children.
“WE MET AT OUR CHURCH ONE DAY, AND SHE HAD JUST GONE UP TO GIVE A TESTIMONY,” HERNDON EXPLAINED. “SHE HAD A DREAM SHE WAS GOING TO START A COMMUNITY OF EIGHT OR NINE HOMES TO HELP CHILDREN, WHICH WOULD BE CALLED NANA’S HOUSE.”
Frodge decided to make the dream a reality and started moving forward with plans to build Nana’s House as a place for children to live in a safe environment, outside of the system, to thrive and later possibly be adopted.
IT WILL BE A SAFE HAVEN, A PLACE CHILDREN (FROM INFANTS UP TO 15 YEARS OLD) CAN GO IMMEDIATELY TO BE TAKEN OUT OF A BAD ENVIRONMENT.
“I was blown away by her story, and later, another couple listening at the same time decided to donate their retirement community currently under construction to Nana’s House,” Herndon said. Every year, a fundraiser is held to get volunteers and support in order to complete Frodge’s vision, and this is where the Herndons stepped in to help by raising awareness and encouraging people and builders to get involved.
“ONE THING THAT ATTRACTED US TO NANA’S HOUSE IS THAT THE STAFF, INCLUDING THE CEO AND PRESIDENT, DOESN’T TAKE ONE PENNY OF SALARY,” HERNDON ADDED. “IT’S ALL 100 PERCENT VOLUNTEER.”
Since the development of Nana’s House began, Classic Wood Flooring has donated all of the floors and installation for the eight houses, the community center and a storage facility. This, along with support from volunteer builders and contractors, has helped to create beautiful, nurturing homes for the children and their house parents.“I just couldn’t believe a need for something like this was in our own community,” Herndon asserted. “I felt like it was on both of our hearts that we had to do whatever we could do. What greater way than using our business to help with the floors? It just makes us feel so good we can be part of such a wonderful thing.”
Another organization the Herndons are involved with is AMikids Space Coast, which is a residential facility for boys. AMikids Space Coast helps the boys, ages ranging from 13-18, grow into productive citizens.
Since 1988 AMikids Space Coast has helped more than 1,500 kids transform their lives, strengthen their community and break the cycle of failure and poverty. AMI’s dynamic programs and comprehensive services address each boy’s unique issues, focusing on education, behavior modification and treatment. “We have three Brevard County certified teachers helping our boys attain their education goals,” Herndon explained. “We teach the boys to be self sufficient. They do all their cooking, cleaning and simple maintenance at the facility.” Herndon is involved with the board to help raise money for this cause. “Our goal is to separate our boys’ troubled past form their bright future.” Herndon added.
“The kids need to know someone out there is looking out for them and is willing to show them the right path.” Along with Herndon’s support, a fully dedicated staff helps make it possible. They love what they do, which helps the kids and the community with dramatic results. Despite the boys averaging more than 12 arrests prior to enrolling in the program, 71 percent of the kids do not re-offend within the first year of completion. “If these children didn’t have anywhere to go to change their lives, they would likely end up in prison and a burden to our community instead of productive citizens positively contributing to it,” stressed Herndon.
“We feel we’ve been blessed and supported by our community. Our success with Classic Wood Flooring has made it possible for us to give back, and we’re honored to do so.”