Granville Business Helps Connect Older Foster Children With Furniture


Older people who downsize their homes often have too much, and adolescents who leave foster homes often do not have enough. A local organization saw the two problems as one solution.

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.

Samantha Stearns’ business, Songbird Transitions, started in 2016 after returning to Ohio with her husband.

Following:Fostering Further provides transitional housing for youth in foster care in Licking County

“We are downsizing the elderly who have lived in their homes for several decades,” Stearns explained. “We 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 whole apartment, hang up works of art … so that they don’t have boxes. “

“We 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 you get into a routine. If we can make the space work like their old home did, then that’s our job, ”she continued.“ We put them in their new space, go back to their home space. ‘origin and help move the rest of their belongings. “

Dishes marked for donation to Fostering Further, as Songbird Transitions helps a client pack their bags and move to a smaller house.

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.

“It has been really amazing and great for our customers because it helps our customers get things done,” Stearns said. “They understand a need in the community and they are on fire.”

Following:The group helps young people in foster care to get started on their own

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.

“These kids have nothing when they get older in foster care and create their own place. We have tried to provide some kind of help with furnishing an apartment,” said Williams, adding that they had already bought a few pieces. of dormitory-like furniture and in other cases tried to manage donations.

Jackie Wright, with Songbird Transitions, packs a wardrobe box while helping a client get organized and pack to get around.  The organization works with clients who are downsizing their homes and some of their items are donated to groups like Fostering Further to help those in need.

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 the care system face, said Williams, is housing – which can be hard to find anywhere – transport and find a job. To meet these challenges, Fostering Further launched its Starting Strong program and recently opened its Hope Landing facility.

“I literally showed up to bring this welcome kit with some supplies and saw some kids … I walked into their apartment and there is an air mattress on the floor and there are a few bags on their stuff – usually in trash bags or duffel bags That’s all they had. That’s how they got into their apartment, “Williams said.” So just having the physical possessions – a sofa, a bed, a place to sit, a place to sleep – is a huge challenge for them. “

Following: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 seniors and children out of foster care, Stearns said, has been rewarding for her with the little she is able to do.

Cecilia Bodine (center) takes a break from packing and organizing to pose outside her Granville home with Songbird Transitions Tabi Amos, Zach Dobbelaer, Jackie Wright and Samantha Stearns.  Songbird Transitions helps clients downsizing their homes.  Many articles are donated to organizations such as Fostering Further.

“The children we meet are kind souls. They had a very hard hand… I have so much compassion for these young people because I have two of my own sons and it’s hard not to see them, they are young people and they need a little love, ”Stearns said. “I feel like my job is twofold because I help seniors realize that the things they give up have a very important purpose. And that motivates them in the most beautiful way. happy to help the kids too. “

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.

For more information on Songbird Transitions or for more information on downsizing and where to donate, visit their website at SongbirdTransitions.com.

For more information on Fostering Further, their Starting Strong program, or to donate to their organization, visit FosteringFurther.org or StartingStrongOhio.org.

About Oscar L. Smith

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