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"Within each child lies the sleeping, beautiful Self that we must awaken."

Sr. Miriam Hennessey

About Us

Project Renewal works with all members of the neighborhood, but since its beginning in 1974 the children have been the primary focus. Sr. Concetta Bendicente, PHJC, from Chicago, started Project Renewal with the vision of “presence,” for the children. Residential volunteers have a stabilizing impact in the lives of children, their day-to-day love and support enables the sleeping, beautiful Self in each child to awaken. Educating, building self-esteem and affirming each child of his/her individual worth are the paramount goals of Project Renewal.

Project Renewal’s main purpose is to be a positive presence for children and families in our fragile neighborhood of Davenport. Service is extended through day-to-day contact with children through treats, educational, recreational, and social activities through-out the year in Project Renewal’s Afterschool and Summer Programs, as well as through the live-in staff’s daily presence. For many children, struggling with everyday issues, Project Renewal is one of the few anchors in their lives. Project Renewal is an important organization in our community which can deeply impact the life of a child and is very rewarding personally for those who volunteer or provide financial support.

Project Renewal program activities for children teach non-violent conflict resolution skills, interpersonal relationships, constructive use of time, appropriate social behaviors, emphasize the importance of a complete education, and foster the growth of love and self-esteem within each child. Through service and presence we give the children a loving, educational, recreational, and social environment with positive role models in which they can feel safe.

Project Renewal also serves as an educational training center for persons interested in serving others. Youth groups, college students, church members, boy scouts, retired persons, and people from all walks of life volunteer at Project Renewal, gaining insight into the root causes of poverty, unemployment, and low self-esteem. Volunteers often feel in their experience they receive more than they give.

Project Renewal volunteers are a vital ingredient of the Project Renewal family. Notre Dame University students make our site their home and summer service learning experience every year. College students, interns, and staff live in community. Many people from the wider community provide spiritual, in-kind and financial support. The annual budget is met through direct-appeals, private donations from churches, businesses, families, and grant awards. It is the concern and moral support of the wider community that encourages Project Renewal volunteers to continue their efforts to help correct the injustices of the inner city, and bring love and dignity to the people of the neighborhood.

MISSION: We empower children and families by acting as a loving presence in the neighborhood.
Dignity: We affirm the worth and gift of each person
Stability: We provide structure and support for kids and neighbors
Trust: We offer a warm, welcoming presence in the neighborhood
Education: We invest in our children and neighbors to reach their full potential
Justice: We advocate for just and equitable opportunities

We Are Unique

We serve children in all grades K-12.
We operate out of a house in the neighborhood, where staff and volunteers also live.
There is no charge for the services we provide families.


I am thankful for all the great things you have done for me through my life that have helped me become who I am today.


I have so much gratitude for all of the help you have given me since I was little, to my sister too. For years you were the only people I could open up to and be honest with and that was so crucial at the time. The program gave me a safe place to be, and furthermore you were one of the only people in my life to hold me truly accountable and set higher expectations. You have always supported the path I am on and I greatly appreciate that. Thank you for being a stable support in my Life. It really means everything to me.


I was honored to be able to come back to the program that made me the responsible man I am today and help with kids who were no different than I was. I wanted to positively impact those kids just like I was positively impacted by the helpers when I was a kid at the Treat House. The summer I spent working with all the kids was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I hope one day that the kids I worked with will come back when they are older and work and help with the program kids and let them know that you can do anything you want to do as long as you stay positive. I am completely blessed Project Renewal was there for me as a young kid from a struggling neighborhood, to feel safe and grow into a graduating college student. I don’t know where I would be without their help. I will be forever grateful for all that they have done for me and continue to do for kids in the area.