The award to Isaiah 117 House was announced at a gathering at the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Elizabethton shortly before lunch Tuesday.
The company conducts the True Inspiration Awards each year. Chick-fil-A said the awards are presented to “organizations from across the country who go above and beyond in the fields of innovative education, emerging leader development and youth entrepreneurship.”
“We really appreciate Chick-fil-A for this award,” said Isaiah House founder Ronda Paulson. She said the money will be used to help with the next Isaiah 117 House, which is being planned by a group from Greene County.
The House is a comfortable home in a residential neighborhood that provides temporary shelter for small children who are in transition within the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. In past years, children taken in emergency situations often had to wait for a foster placement for many hours. They waited in the DCS offices, sitting in rooms designed for adults with little to relieve their boredom.
The Isaiah House provides the children with their own temporary bedrooms, toys, and even a backyard playground.
Paulson said a group in Greene County is interested in repeating the model in their neighborhood.
“There is a serious need in Greene County,” Paulson said.
Paulson said the organization was nominated for the True Inspiration Award by Tommy Tipton, franchisee for the Elizabethton restaurant.
She said the selection process required the completion of an extensive grant application. Isaiah House then had to demonstrate community support in a voting contest in September. The hard work paid off.
Tipton has been aware of the Isaiah 117 House plans from the earliest stages. He said he liked its mission of providing a safe place for children.
There were 22 awards presented this year by Chick-fill-A, totaling $1.8 million.