Local professional women’s group renovates Simonka Place living space, restores heart of home


Women helping women. Our local Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) demonstrated love and care to women at Simonka Place through paint, tools, and pretty things.  

Their labor of love? A renovated lounge for residents in the New Life Fellowship program (NLF).  

“Before” photo right before construction.

Simonka Place, a ministry of Union Gospel Mission of Salem, desires to create a living space for guests that speaks volumes—words of care, dignity, and healing. If we’re being honest, though, the NLF lounge was tired, outdated, and uncomfortable. We needed help, and PWB took it upon themselves to joyfully step up to the challenge. 

Here’s a short interview with them as they share their heart behind the project. 

Q: What sparked this renovation project?   

A: The Professional Women in Building Council for Marion and Polk Counties put together a mission statement early on. Part of the mission statement says, “We at PWB provide a space in the residential building industry for women to use their voices and skills to help build and empower the people and communities we live in.” Remodeling the New Life Fellowship lounge felt like a manageable way for our group to use our skills and voices to support our community.  

Q: What organizations were involved in this project?   

A: We applied for and received a grant from the Mid-Valley Association of Realtors to help fund the project.  Here is a current list of donors: 

Q: What prompted you to select Simonka Place as your beneficiary?  

A: One of our first monthly meetings was to tour Simonka Place. Some of the ladies were already connected to Simonka Place. Then after the tour we all knew it was the place for us to spend our time and energy. Claire Juran, one of our PWB members, recently was involved with remodeling one of the bathrooms, and I think that gave us the idea that we could remodel a room.  

It feels like a good fit since our group’s main focus is to support women—we do a community project that supports women. 


Q: What do you hope this room renovation will accomplish for the residents at Simonka Place?   

A: We hope that the remodeled space will provide some peace, rest, and comfort for the residents. It can be a place for them to relax, watch a movie, do a craft, etc. And hopefully the room can be a reminder to the women that the community cares about them and is supportive of them.  

There’s a quote that says, “When women support each other, incredible things happen.”  We hope the current and future residents always feel our support when they enter this space. 

Q: Anything else that is important for you to add?   

A: This project has felt like a huge blessing for us to work on. Everyone we have talked to at Simonka Place has been so excited and grateful for this room remodel, which has just made it even more exciting for us to work on. We hope this room will be put to good use and feel like home. 

It is also vital that woman get back on their feet and into housing. We are the Professional Women in Building Council of the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk County, and we want to help those dreams become reality. Giving the women some semblance of normalcy in their daily lives can help them believe in the possibilities. It was an easy choice to select Simonka Place; their goals align with ours–helping women. 

Women helping women. One way you can take action is by marking your calendar today as an attendee of RENEW, a luncheon set for May 2. This event will benefit the women and children at UGM’s Simonka Place. Want to host a table at or sponsor this event? Contact Alena Harvey at aharvey@ugmsalem.org.



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