More than 30 Scientific Games employees recently participated in a volunteer project to revitalize an outdoor area at Bald Ridge Lodge.
The company donated and installed landscaping materials and supplies to the lodge, which temporarily houses boys ages 12 to 18 who are in foster care or who have been referred by Juvenile Court.
The center currently has nine boys, and last year the average stay lasted between four and six months, said John Haigler, the executive director.
The project targeted a large hill of red clay held back by a silt fence. Located in the backyard of the lodge, it had long been an eyesore for the boys, said Barbara Kastner, the facility’s program coordinator.
Volunteers and residents worked together Wednesday to plant flowers and shrubbery on the hill.
“We wanted to make [the lodge] a nice place to live even if it is just temporary,” said Heidi Snarey, the human services professional at the lodge. “It was like Christmas for the boys.”
Scientific Games produces gaming equipment, including lottery tickets and systems. It has a center in south Forsyth and offices around the country.
According to spokeswoman Simone Harrison , the company funded the project with money usually reserved for an annual leadership dinner. The local United Way put officials in touch with the lodge.
“They shared with us that they needed really some help with landscaping,” Harrison said. “That if we could create some beautiful landscaping that could elevate the boys’ experience at the home and give them some pride to where they live.”
The hill now boasts about 350 plants varying from roses and lilies to shrubs.
“It was a much needed and welcomed project,” Kastner said.
Scientific Games also donated gift cards to purchase some sports equipment.
“The boys were engaged with us,” Harrison said. “They even helped with some of the planting, which I think is great. It really connected them with the project, and made them feel proud of what was being done.”
She added that it was “moving to know that we had this kind of impact in such an important facility in Forsyth County and that we helped the boys feel more connected to the lodge and feel like they had a home.”