Isaiah 117 House celebrates official kickoff for program

Published 6:18 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2017

“Love, you’re not alone.”

That is the message of love and hope that a new non-profit organization seeks to give to children when they are most in need.

While Tuesday marked the official kickoff for Isaiah 117 House, support for the newly formed organization is already pouring in. So far, the organization has received $20,000 in donations, according to founder Ronda Paulson.

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“I have been blown away by the support of this community, but I don’t know why I was surprised,” Paulson said. “We are a very loving community and when we see a need we run to help.”

The initial goal for funds being raised for Isaiah 117 is to purchase a house.

“We have a couple who is holding a house for us for $75,000,” Paulson said. “We want to pay cash for the home because we don’t want that overhead of having a house payment.”

The idea behind Isaiah 117 House is to provide a safe and supportive environment for children who have been removed from their homes by the Department of Children’s Services and are transitioning into foster care.

Paulson and her husband, Corey, are foster parents, and it was their first experience fostering a child that opened Paulson’s eyes to a need in the community. When they got their first call to foster a child, Paulson said she and her family went to the DCS office in Elizabethton to meet the caseworker and child. When she walked in, Paulson said she saw a sea of cubicles and a conference room.

While speaking with a case worker, Paulson learned that a six year old girl had spent the night in the conference room at the office because there was nowhere else for her to stay until DCS found a foster home placement for her.

“I kept picturing a 6-year-old girl who just left the only home she had ever known and the only family she had ever known and was led by adults she had never met to wait in a conference room,” Paulson said as tears filled her eyes as she recalled the story. “We can do better. These children deserve better.”

Paulson is quick to say nothing about the program she is founding is meant to slight DCS or their work.

“This is not about DCS not doing their job,” she said. “They are doing the best they can.”

There just isn’t anywhere other than the DCS office for children to wait for their foster placement… for now. Paulson wants to change that through Isaiah 117 House.

Instead of being picked up and taken to the DCS office to wait for hours, or longer, to be placed with a foster family. The children would be taken to Isaiah 117 House where they are met by caring program volunteers.

Many times, when children are taken from their homes they arrive with only the clothes on their back. Many are tired, hungry, dirty, and frightened. Isaiah 117 House would provide a safe and comforting environment where they could take a bath, eat a meal, play, and sleep while DCS works to find a home placement for them. Paulson is working with local non-profit Cap the Gap which provides clothing and other needed items for children transitioning into foster care.

The name of the organization refers to the Bible verse found in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 1, Verse 17, which directs Christians to “defend the cause of the fatherless.” Paulson said God laid this ministry on her heart with that verse. The slogan which Isaiah 117 House is using for their shirts “Love, you’re not alone” is a lyric from a song which Paulson said God also laid on her heart about the ministry. She wants to let these children know that even though they have been removed from their homes they are not alone and they are loved.

For more information on Isaiah 117 House, visit their website at or check out their Facebook page.

Donations to Isaiah 117 can be sent to: Isaiah 117 House P.O. Box 842, Elizabethton, TN, 37644. Please make checks or money orders payable to “Cap the Gap” and write “Isaiah 117 House” in the memo line. Donations can also be made online through the website.