Fr. David and Elaine Lowell Children’s Library Opens at Raphael House

Apr 19 2016
Kim Lessard
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Raphael House Executive Director Ralph Payton

Raphael House Board of Directors, donors, volunteers, and staff came together in early April to celebrate the opening of the Fr. David and Elaine Lowell Children’s Library at Raphael House. The construction for the Children’s Library was completed thanks to HomeAid Northern California and XL Construction who generously donated the materials and services for the project. They also donated the materials and services for some much-needed updates to the Ella Rigney Library, which included custom-made shelving and a media center to be used for Board presentations and family movie nights. The new library will help foster a love of reading, education, and imagination, all core components in Raphael House’s Children’s and Academic Enrichment programs, which focus on ending the cycle of generational poverty through education and empowerment.

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From L to R: Cheryl O’Connor, Fr. David Lowell, Kirsten Fischer, Rob Wilber, Ron Paradies, Richard Walker, Ralph Payton

The Fr. David and Elaine Lowell Children’s Library was named in recognition of Fr. David and Elaine’s twenty-five years of extraordinary service and commitment to Raphael House. Fr. David retired as executive director of Raphael House in 2010. Elaine dedicated her time at Raphael House to development and was instrumental in creating many of the long-time community partnerships that still support the organization today. The Children’s Library was created in the former chapel, where Fr. David held optional services for families and staff who lived at Raphael House during the time when the  program was administered  by the Orthodox Church of America.

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The Fr. David and Elaine Lowell Children’s Library at Raphael House

When the idea for a children’s library was first conceived, it was important to many in the Raphael House community that in addition to being a place of learning and discovery, that it also honor the history of the space with a design that would evoke a sense of calmness and reflection conducive to healing and provide a peaceful place for mom or Dad to bond with their children. Often, because of past or recent trauma experienced by families who have dealt with domestic violence or other forms of abuse, parents have difficulty with intimacy and struggle with getting close to their children. When parents read to their children it helps strengthen the parent-child bond while also promoting literacy. Some of the books Raphael House provides for families are social emotional books that help parents identify and explain feelings to their kids. The first graders at Convent of the Sacred Heart Elementary School helped fill the shelves of The Fr. David and Elaine Lowell Children’s Library with books, by generously holding a drive in order to provide all of their favorite titles for the kids at Raphael House to enjoy. The girls from Convent also exchanged messages with the children at Raphael House about their favorite things and books they like to read.

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