MDW Chapter NSDAR showered the Isaiah 117 House with gift cards and plush blankets to comfort the children

Michelle Bonville and Amy Orr, Part-time Program Coordinators for the Isaiah 117 House in Jefferson County, shared the Isaiah 117 story at the December meeting of the Martha Dandridge Washington Chapter (MDW), National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).

Bonville reiterated the purpose of the newly-constructed home in Jefferson County, noted on the website at, as “to reduce trauma for children entering the foster system, lighten the load for child welfare services, and ease the transition for foster families.”

Isaiah 117 House was the original vision of Founder Ronda Paulson in 2014 when she and her husband Corey were going through training to become foster parents. The couple learned that children who cannot be given immediate foster placement after being removed from an unsafe situation in their home often must stay in the office of the Department of Children’s Services (DCS). Paulson stated on the website, “As I looked around the cubicle filled space, I couldn’t imagine a scared child sitting in such a sterile, cold environment waiting to learn their fate. That is when I believe God put on my heart the Isaiah 117 House.”

Isaiah 1:17 (NIV) says in total, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Taking up the cause of the fatherless is the guiding principle of the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Bonville explained that when children are removed from an unsafe home, they often have nothing with them and are scared, lonely, and hungry. They are often in dirty clothing. Even so, they want to go home because home means Mommy and Daddy, and it is all they know. Although they are removed from the home for their own safety and well-being, the event creates feelings of fear and insecurity. Sometimes the first things needed are a warm bath, a nourishing meal, and a cozy bed. The clothes which the children are given are always new with the tags still intact. The reason for that is that seeing the tags in the new garments shows the children that they are valued and worthy of having something new. Another thing the children find at the house is loving caregivers who will play with them.

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Isaiah 117 Houses are located in eight states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Currently there are nine homes open and in use in East Tennessee. There are ten more either under construction or at the “raising awareness” stage.

The Isaiah 117 House in Jefferson County is nearing completion. Orr explained that the project began with the kick-off in October 2020, and ground was broken in July 2021. The ribbon cutting for the new structure will be held after the first of the year 2023. Until the facility is open, any child that is removed from an unsafe home is taken temporarily to the DCS office or an Isaiah 117 House in a neighboring county.

Orr noted that there are three primary ways that concerned people can get involved. The first is to pray. In fact, the staff at the House set an alarm for 1:17 every afternoon and pray for the case workers, foster families, children, volunteers, and program coordinators. Next, supporters can donate new clothing any size. Sizes adult small to 3X are especially needed. Finally, donors can become “sock buddies” who pledge monthly support. The House typically spends $200-$300 per child.

In order to open for use, an Isaiah 117 House must have its construction paid for and the budget for one year deposited in the bank. Checks with the words “Jefferson County” written on the reference line should be sent to P.O. Box 842, Elizabethton, TN 37644. Donations of clothing can be dropped off at any Citizens Bank in Jefferson County. Moreover, Bonville and Orr can be contacted at

In support of the Isaiah 117 House and ministry, the MDW Chapter donated cash, gift cards, and a small mountain of plush blankets.

For information about the DAR, contact MDW Registrar Karen McFarland at (865) 258-8670 or Regent Janet Guyett at (865) 712-8782.

The MDW Chapter NSDAR showered the Isaiah 117 House with gift cards and plush blankets to comfort the children who will be housed temporarily in the new home nearing completion in Jefferson County. Pictured from left to right are MDW Chapter Regent Janet Guyett, Part-time Coordinators for the Isaiah 117 House Amy Orr and Michelle Bonville, and MDW Parliamentarian Linda Null Bonner.

Michelle Bonville (right) shares donor and contact information for the Isaiah 117 House with MDW Chapter member Nancy Ragno. The small mountain of plush blankets will be taken to the House where each young, temporary resident will be allowed to choose a favorite for their very own.