The Restoration House Story
The Restoration House began with one question: “If you could do anything in life, what would you do?” In the summer of 2005, God gave Daniel and Mandy Watson a vision of a ministry for single mothers that provided transitional housing in an environment that was family oriented and reconciling in nature.
Where It All Started
Just two months later, the couple purchased a home off of Robinson Rd in Knoxville, Tennessee. The 3.5-acre property contained a four-bedroom farmhouse that included a second-story apartment with its own kitchen and outside entrance. There was also a one-bedroom home on the property.
Both the apartment and the one-bedroom house served as the transitional housing units for single-mothers and their children coming into The Restoration House.
After more than two years of research and development, The Restoration House opened its doors to its first single-mother family on November 5, 2007. Rebekah and Averie moved in to the second-story apartment in the farmhouse.
A few months later a second family moved into the one-bedroom house. These two residences were home for many single mother families up until 2012.
In June of 2008, The Restoration House developed a partnership with a local property owner for the use of a four-plex in the Mechanicsville area to serve as a second site. The property was home for three additional families, bringing the total capacity to five single-mother families at any given time.
In January of 2011, The Restoration House ended its contract with the owners of the four-plex and began leasing three units at a West Knoxville apartment complex in order to have the five families in the program closer together geographically.
Beyond Our Walls
In April of 2011, The Restoration House began assisting churches to more effectively come alongside single mothers and their children. Over the years several local churches have been able to develop ally teams to walk with single mother families through the ups and downs of life.
In January of 2012, the Watson family was the recipient of an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build that demolished the dangerously dilapidated farmhouse and replaced it with a new home for the Watsons and two small bungalows for single-mother families.
Over 4500 volunteers gathered from the greater Knoxville community and across the country to change the future for the Watson family and to grow the work of The Restoration House.
In June of 2012, The Restoration House purchased the land adjacent to the Watsons’ home for The Village, a community in which single-mother families will develop supportive relationships and find healing, stability and restoration as they build a brighter future. Phase I of The Village (including 6 units and the Community Center) was completed a month ahead of schedule, under budget, and completed paid for in June of 2015. The Restoration House is now working to developing Phase II of The Village, which will include and 18 more units. With this expanded capacity, The Village can have an impact on 140–160 single mothers and 280–320 children over the next 10 years.
From the Ground Up
The Restoration House launched From the Ground Up in 2012 to help increase the capacity of those organizations across the country who are walking alongside low-income single mothers and their children in their communities. We know the value of learning from others. It’s how we got our start. We have had the pleasure of walking alongside a number of tremendous organizations over the years.
The Restoration House strives to be known as a nonprofit organization that is an agent of change and restoration for women and children in Knoxville and beyond.
Leap of Faith
August, 2005The Watsons purchased the property at 2329 Robinson Road to start what would become The Restoration House.
Planting the Seed
October, 2006The Restoration House became an official organization chartered in the state of Tennessee.
January, 2007The first Board of Directors of The Restoration House was appointed. Daniel Watson was approved as the Executive Director and Mandy Watson transitioned to the part-time Program Coordinator position.
August, 2007The Restoration House became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
November, 2007After two years of tireless research to find out how they could best serve single-mother families in Knoxville, The Restoration House welcomed its first single-mother family into the program.
A Day in the Life
August, 2008“A Day in the Life,” a free monthly event that gives people an opportunity to see the day-to-day struggles of a low-income single-mother family, was inaugurated.
February, 2009The Knoxville Mentoring Initiative was founded in cooperation with TRH and five other local nonprofits to increase mentoring capacity and community involvement in mentoring programs.
Roots for Expansion
November, 2009The Restoration House officially announced a new partnership, with Central Baptist Church of Bearden (CBCB), in the development of an expansion project for The Restoration House.
September, 2010The Restoration House held its first partners’ luncheon with 60 people in attendance including 16 churches, 4 foundations, 10 board members and 20 other significant stakeholders.
40 Under 40
October, 2010Daniel Watson was honored as one of Knoxville’s 40 Under 40 by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal.
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