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.
“We are downsizing the elderly who have lived in their homes for several decades,” Stearns explained. 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 whole apartment, hang up works of art … so that they don’t have boxes. “
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 you get into a routine. If we can make the space work like their old home did, then that’s our job, âshe continued.â We put them in their new space, go back to their home space. ‘origin 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.”
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.
âThese 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,â said Williams, adding that they had already bought a few pieces. of dormitory-like furniture and in other cases tried to manage donations.
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. “
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.
âThe children we meet are kind 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’s hard not to see them, they are young people and they need a little love, âStearns said. âI 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.