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Agency, firm team up to build Midtown urban lounge for teens

Partners in Philanthropy 2011

Sacramento Business Journal, September 23, 2011

For teens, Sacramento is a dud. There isn't a safe, welcoming public spot to hang out without getting chased away or viewed with suspicion.

That's about to change.

The VIBE Urban Youth Lounge, a 2,630-square-foot space in the heart of midtown, is scheduled to open in October, and each step of its development was directed by teens themselves.

My wife and I are mentors and youth chaperones for our church, and we just have a heart for youth.

Brad Des Jardin
President of DesCor Builders

The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency donated an “amazing space” for just $1 a year, said Christina Demoss-Giffin, volunteer executive director of VIBE and former Youth Resource Coordinator for the city of Sacramento's Office of Youth Development.

“The dilemma was, it looked like a cafeteria,” she added, which is not surprising considering it is a cafeteria, used by a senior nutrition program until 2 p.m.

After the cafeteria closes, the urban lounge will come alive. Most of the dining chairs will be stacked out of sight and the space ­— which has a maximum capacity of 150 — will transform into a spot where teens can grab a coffee or a smoothie and lounge on couches. Eventually they will be able to see live shows, attend workshops and get career counseling, work experience and community referrals.

It remains to be seen what the senior tenants think of their remodeled dining room at 1725 K St., now painted in bold colors with furnishings ranging from donated Eames chairs to 1960s Scandinavian-style sofas.

“If we'd opened it up as it was, it wouldn't have been much of a gift for the youth of Sacramento,” Demoss-Giffin said. But more than $50,000 in cash donations and about $300,000 in donated labor and materials made a transformation possible.

Brad DesJardin, president of DesCor Builders, was happy to get involved. His construction company has done the demolition work, carpentry and coordinated the subcontractors to keep the project on track.

It's been very fun for us to do something like this — to do something for someone and be a part of their success. The best part is seeing a happy customer.

Brad Des Jardin
President of DesCor Builders

“My wife and I are mentors and youth chaperones for our church, and we just have a heart for youth,” DesJardin said. Of the company's 23 employees, 15 have spent time working at or on the VIBE project, from administrators to construction workers, and they are happy to be able to give back to their community, he added.

“It's been very fun for us to do something like this — to do something for someone and be a part of their success. The best part is seeing a happy customer,” DesJardin said.

Beyond overseeing the construction, DesCor "pulled out the equivalent of their little black book and contacted subcontractors to help out," Demoss-Giffin said. They also have a full-time staff person overseeing the construction.

“They've treated VIBE like somebody with millions of dollars (to spend) with their attention to our needs and their dedication to our program," she said. "You would think we were forking out the big bucks based on their professionalism.”

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DesCor Builders
3164 Gold Camp Drive, Suite 250
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
inquiries@descorbuilders.com
Telephone: 916-463-0191
Fax: 916-463-0195