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Murals with a message
Bear walls await youth at Bald Ridge
The Lodge Mural 1 es
Tonya Hester paints a black bear Saturday in the dining room of Bald Ridge Lodge. Hester has been painting murals throughout the entire facility, which is expected to open soon. - photo by Emily Saunders

Bald Ridge Lodge is undergoing a little decorating before it opens in the next few weeks.

Executive Director Jill Trammell said rooms throughout the facility for at-risk boys are being decorated to give it more of a lodge feel.

Images of pine trees, forest animals and waterfalls are part of the package. Inspirational quotes also are popping up.

"We've got two interior designers that are graduating from Lanier Tech who have donated all their time and did an internship here," Trammell said. "They brought in a mural artist who has transformed this place into a lodge."

The lodge, a nonprofit organization, will offer counseling, mentoring and support for boys ages 12 to 17, and house residents for up to 90 days.

Trammell said the designers, Melanie Bettis and Liz Lewallen, continued their work at the lodge even after completing their internship hours. She said they worked hard on the bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as acquired furniture for the facility.

Mural artist Tonya Hester, she said, should be finished with the lodge-themed artwork this week.

Trammell said while Hester has incorporated some of the lodge's own phrases -- "A voice for change is a raindrop, a community for change is a waterfall" -- into the artwork, quotes courtesy of Uppercase Living also are being used. The company specializes in designed phrases for decorating.

Trammell said some phrases will identify information stations set up in various rooms throughout the lodge. The stations will offer residents some life wisdom.

"The information stations are tools they can use to help them think differently," Trammell said. "That way, we're not telling them anything. They're actually around the whole house, so they have the opportunity to grab things out of there and use them for their journaling, which they get rewarded for."

Trammell said the stations also will be used as "reflect and respond activities" when the boys need redirection.
The activities, she said, are part of the lodge's behavior management plan.

Trammell said members of the community can sponsor the stations throughout the year.

"If they have some informational pieces of advice or stories from books that they've read, just different things that they would like to share with the boys, we can review and approve them and then they'd go in our information stations," she said.