EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - LORI MCHALE
"Decorating has always been a part of my life. My mother was always rearranging our furniture, sewing window treatments or slip covers, refinishing furniture…there was always a project going on in our house. I fondly remember my sister and I choosing new colors and themes for our rooms and we got to be involved in the process of making it happen. Then my parents let us take over our basement and do whatever we wanted with it! We had a blast painting walls, furniture and making the space our own. I am truly grateful for having that encouragement (and trust!) in developing my creativity that would later help me pursue my dream of decorating.
After a successful career in graphic design, I decided to make the switch and apply what I already knew about design on paper and apply it to designing rooms. I pursued certifications in Interior Redesign, Real Estate Staging, Color Consulting, and worked in these areas plus Senior Move Management. After several years, I finally realized my true passion was working with children and bringing to life their dreams for their rooms. I love hearing what they want and finding a way to make it happen.
While watching a television show about a similar organization, the concept of Designing 4 Hope was formed…and with much encouragement from friends and family, the organization became a reality in May 2011. I am extremely thankful that I am able to help the children and their families with the talents I have been given. It has been a blessing to meet such wonderful people so far…the children, their families, and all those who have given their time, talents or funds to make a difference. We are giving the children more than just a newly decorated room. They are getting a space that is going to help them feel better, rest easier, and hopefully make them happier because it is their dream come true."
STEVE RIPKA - GENERAL CONTRACTOR/BOARD MEMBER
"Design has always been a passion of mine which led to pursuing a degree in architecture design. After working in an architectural firm for a few years, I realized that reporting to an office was not what I had envisioned for my future. I then turned to commercial construction. Throughout my construction career, I have completed numerous projects including bookstores, restaurants, and retail spaces. I also became involved with insurance claims for residential properties which allowed me to start my own business. Ace Remodeling was established in January 2010.
The switch from commercial to residential allowed me to build relationships and work one-on-one with homeowners. I enjoy working closely with my clients to help their dreams become reality, from drawings on paper to the finished product. While helping Lori with her kitchen design, she approached me with her idea: Designing 4 Hope. It took only a moment for me to see the potential in such a cause. I feel honored to be able to partner with this organization in changing the lives of families."
Steve has been one of the founding core team members and board members. He is involved in each project from the start which begins with an on-site visit to evaluate each space and its possibilities. His design knowledge and ability makes each project become a reality. Steve takes the lead on project day, makes sure every space and detail is safe for the families and coordinates the team of volunteers.
Rebecca has been with Designing 4 Hope from our very first year! Her attention to detail, friendly personality and willingness to do any task greatly helps us with our makeovers. She has truly become a valuable member of our core team. Not only does she help us with the makeover projects, but she also assists with our networking effort and attends events to spread the word about Designing 4 Hope. She is currently the elementary instructional coach at Executive Education Academy Charter School.
MIKE AND SARAH ROBINSON
Mike has helped us since our very first project and Sarah started helping shortly thereafter. Mike owns Robinson Electric and is our licensed electrician. He has installed ceiling fans, specialty light fixtures and heating systems where needed. Since lighting is very important in the design of the room, we usually have lots of hard work for him to do. Sarah is a certified music teacher at a private high school and is one of our Furniture Assembly Project Managers but has fearlessly taken on many tasks and has done an amazing job. She has definitely become an integral part of our core team. Their friendly personalities and big hearts have also helped us build wonderful relationships with the children and their families.
AMY DLUHY - BOARD MEMBER
We first met Amy early in 2014 when she did a Fabulous Shoe fundraising event for us and since then she has become an important key member of our core team. She has taken on many roles which have taken us to the next level in room design, fundraising and networking. Her outgoing friendly personality has helped us build deeper relationships with the families we work with and our volunteers. Her extensive 25 year background in fundraising and event planning has helped us greatly to spread the word about Designing 4 Hope through both day-to-day operations and public presentations, make key connections with new vendors/volunteers/supporters, and has elevated our fundraising events. She is involved in all aspects of the room designs-planning/shopping/imple-
menting, business functions and communications. She also recently became one of our Board Members. Amy is currently the Event Planner for Gardner's Nursery in Chester Springs, organizing special events on and off location. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Horsepower For Life, a Therapeutic Riding Program for those Families Effected with Cancer, and The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, enjoying preserving historic properties and landmarks. Amy also is an active member of Team CMMD, a local group of cancer fighters, who are runners and walkers making a difference in the community.
NICK AND DARLENE NUDY
Nick and Darlene joined us in February 2012 and we could already tell they were dedicated to helping children since their first project was a two hour drive to the Bloomsburg area. Nick takes the lead on a lot of our construction/building projects and Darlene is our Paint Project Manager. They are both very talented and can make whatever we show them drawings or pictures of! They have made awesome surfboard shelves, Lego art, shelves and a quilt, various window treatments, photo memo boards and custom light fixtures. Not only do they jump in and do whatever needs to be done, they are also great at guiding and teaching new volunteers on each project. Darlene also has her own business called Why Sew Serious that does custom sewing and window treatments, home decor and embroidery.
Stephanie of Stephanie W. Adrian Photography joined us in September 2013 when she spent the day with us beautifully capturing the "story" of Branden's makeover. Since then, she not only photographs each project for us, but her photos are a wonderful way for the family to see how everything comes together since we keep the rooms a surprise until the "big reveal!" And at the "big reveals," Stephanie's work is truly priceless as she is able to capture the emotions and sweet smiles when the children and their parents see their new dream bedrooms for the first time!
' “Do something you love and build your life around it,” has been part of my motto since becoming a mom 19 years ago, Designing 4 Hope fit perfectly into that belief. I choose to participate with D4H because I can and I care about the families. There is an element of inexpressible joy on the day when the family sees their rooms – “tears of joy” combined with excitement and unbelief that the rooms are transformed into something more than they could have ever imagined. I cannot bottle, market, invent or contrive the response. It is genuine and heartwarming – lifegiving. As a deeply rooted individual, this imparts joy to me when I look through the lens of my camera. I hope to wholeheartedly capture, share, invite you into the amazing transformations that the team create. I was classically trained in photography at The Art Institute of Philadelphia where I earned my degree. Other organizations that I volunteer with are Project Purpose teaching Art, Three Angel’s Haiti to teach women art, Summer Scholars for students to meet graduation requirements, Loose Thread Quilt Guild as a Board Member, and mentoring female students who are pursuing a career in the arts.'
Renee started out with us as a volunteer for the projects sponsored by Tri County Area Federal Credit Union where she works...but quickly wanted her and her daughter Savannah to start helping on the projects in between. Renee does a lot of DIY projects on her own home so has lot of different talents and confidence to take on whatever we throw her way. Her organization skills, focus on getting the job done and friendly personality are such great assets to each project she helps with.
Suzanne first joined us in August and, with her design background and warm sunny personality, it was immediately a wonderful fit. She has contributed to all the design/planning/ shopping/executing of our projects ever since and has added so much to our team.
"I started my love for creating spaces when I was a young girl. I would rearrange my dollhouse furniture multiple times and make sure everything was just so ☺. Graduating as an award winning honor student with a degree in Interior Design from Harcum College in Bryn Mawr Pennsylvania, and having a background in construction and connections to many local builders, I was spring boarded into starting my own business in 2005. I have been Best of Houzz in Service and Design for 2014, 2015, and 2016. Awarded ASID Top 50 Designers in Pennsylvania, Daily Local News Readers Choice in Home Remodeling for 2016 and Published National and International as well as being the featured design for Kravet NY INC, along with interviews for local Home Publications. Design is a way I can express my creativity and my emotions. By creating inviting spaces for families to live, work, and entertain in is truly an honor I am grateful for every day. I am blessed to work in an industry that continues to grow, change and allow me the privilege to meet and be welcomed into people’s homes and office spaces. I also am involved with our local food pantry and love giving back to our community."
Jim also joined us in August with his wife Suzanne. Jim's talent in painting, construction skills and friendliness have become such a welcomed asset to our team and have made our projects go much more smoothly.
"I have always been fascinated by art. I started at a young age drawing, tracing and painting. Using colors and textures intrigued me and I am thankful I am able to use the skills I learned over the years, in elementary school, high school and college. Taking over my father in law's business in 2001 allowed me to offer my artistic services along with the basic custom painting to my clients all over the Chester, Berks, Bucks and Delaware Counties. Biddle Painting LLC is a family owned business that was started by my father in law in 1985, I have continued to grow the business, but keep the values that he started years ago intact and strong. Biddle Painting LLC was voted Daily Local News Readers Choice Award in Painters for 2016. It is a pleasure to be welcomed into clients' homes each and every day."