- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - An emergency shelter for families in Council Bluffs has been given a makeover to provide additional learning opportunities and activities to engage children and teenagers.

The Daily Nonpareil newspaper (https://bit.ly/22quSdc ) reports that a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday to dedicate the children’s library at the MICAH House, which includes a new hand-painted mural. The library was dedicated to Heartland Family Service’s Chief Program Officer Nancy Schulze.

Schulze has worked with the shelter for 15 years, since Heartland Family Service took over the shelter’s management.

The mural includes a “find it” game, where children can look for various objects in the painting.

The shelter’s executive director, Jaymes Sime, said the mural was painted this summer by Allison Dethlefs, who said she often worked five to seven hours at a time on the painting.

“It really is amazing when you get in there and start looking at what she has done,” Sime said. “She spent 180 to 200 hours painting that mural on the wall.”

One room at the shelter is now an educational room featuring a miniature bank, engineering lab, hospital and grocery store where children can play and learn how such facilities function. Sime said the goal was to have the room include activities involving science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM activities.

The shelter also has a furnished common area. A third room has been transformed into an area for teenagers outfitted with computers where they can relax, do homework, watch movies and play games.


Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, https://www.nonpareilonline.com

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