Samantha Stearns’ business, Songbird Transitions, started in 2016 after returning to Ohio with her husband. Through a partnership with an organization supporting children and foster families, a Granville-based company helps older people downsize their homes and donate some of their belongings to children leaving the foster care system.
âWe are downsizing the elderly who have lived in their homes for several decades,â said Stearns. âWe help them choose the furniture that would suit their new home. We want their new space to feel like home, so we’re helping them make the transition. We set up their entire apartment, hung up works of artâ¦ so they didn’t have boxes.
Read more: Fostering Additionally provides transitional housing for youth in foster care in Licking County
âWe think of trails, walkers, wheelchairs and accessibility. It must be safe for them. It’s hard when you’ve lived in a house for 40 years and got into a routine. If we can make the space work like their old home, then that’s our job, âshe continued. âWe put them in their new space, go back to their original space and help move the rest of their belongings. “
Stearns said they are trying to give their old possessions a second life. Part of this happened through a partnership with Fostering Further, an organization based in Licking County that supports foster children and their families.
âIt has been really amazing and great for our customers because it helps our customers get things done,â Stearns said. “They understand a need in the community and they are on fire.”
Find out more: The group helps young people in foster care to get started on their own
âThese children have nothing when they are no longer in foster care and create their own place. We tried to provide some kind of help with furnishing an apartment, âWilliams explained, adding that they had already bought some dormitory type furniture and in other cases tried to manage. Donations.
According to Yvonne Williams of Fostering Further, their organization started in 2015. Among other things, their organization has also provided welcome kits including cleaning and hygiene products to children who come out of the reception system and move into their own. lodging.
Williams said the partnership has been wonderful and they’ve been able to connect Stearns with their contacts at Job and Family Services and Bridges, a public program that supports children who have already left foster care.
Among the challenges children aging outside of the care system face, said Williams, is housing – which can be hard to find anywhere – transportation and getting a job. To meet these challenges, Fostering Further launched its Starting Strong program and recently opened its Hope Landing facility.
âI literally showed up to bring this welcome kit with some supplies and saw some kidsâ¦ I walk into their apartment and there’s an air mattress on the floor and there’s a few bags on their stuff – usually in garbage bags or duffel bags. That’s all they had. This is how they moved into their apartment, âsaid Williams. âSo just having the material possessions – a couch, a bed, a place to sit, a place to sleep – is a huge challenge for them. “
More: Driver’s license ban presents challenges for youth in foster care in Licking County
Williams said they work with the community, accept many donations and pass them on to the children.
Helping the elderly and children coming out of foster care, Stearns said, has been rewarding for her with the little she is able to do.
Walking into their apartments to an air mattress on the floor and a small bag full of their things, Stearns said they could give the kids a bedroom set, a place to eat, a place to hang out. sit and socialize with their friends.
âThe children we meet are good souls. They had a very hard handâ¦ I have so much compassion for these young people because I have two of my own sons and it is difficult not to see them, they are young people and they need a little love, âStearns mentioned. âI feel like my job is twofold because I help older people realize that the things they give up have a really important purpose. And that motivates them in the most beautiful way. They are so happy to help the kids too.
For more information on Fostering Further, their Starting Strong program, or to donate to their organization, visit FosteringFurther.org or StartingStrongOhio.org.
For more information on Songbird Transitions or for more information on downsizing and where to donate, visit their website at SongbirdTransitions.com.
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