Giving Back Spotlight: Room Redux

In Community, Laurie Calahan, Lola Shreveport by Lola Magazine

About the Organization

Room Redux…for pronunciation, it sounds like “ducks” not “dew.” In fact, we give out little rubber ducks at fundraising events to teach people how to correctly pronounce it. This also helps keep children occupied while we discuss our mission with the parents.

Our organization is a nonprofit that focuses on transforming the rooms of children who have faced sexual or physical abuse. This can be a powerful tool to foster healing, as many times abuse occurs in a child’s room or bed, making the room itself feel unsafe. As a result, children may stop sleeping, start acting out or may become depressed, avoiding their room entirely. Through donations and grants, Room Redux fully transforms children’s rooms so they will feel comfortable and safe.

A new room = a new start.

Room Redux: where healing and transformation go hand-in-hand.

We are compassionately dedicated to encouraging healing and improving the lives of children who have faced abuse, through room transformation. Since the beginning, one main goal of Room Redux has been to have the ability to transform the rooms and lives of children everywhere who have been victimized. With chapters opening up across America, we get closer to reaching that goal every day.

How We Started

I am a wife, a mom, a grandmother (“Lolli”), an artisan jeweler and a tour host/coordinator to Ireland. As a small business owner of two home-based businesses, I am able to continue my dream of living in Ireland part of the year, while continuing my mission of also advocating for survivors of sexual abuse. I have created several jewelry lines of which a portion of my proceeds go towards facilitating my mission: My heart’s desire and ultimate passion is to raise awareness of sexual abuse and aid in its prevention, to empower those who have been abused, and to offer hope and healing to survivors.

About a year ago, my husband and I were approached by two very dear friends about starting up Louisiana’s first chapter of this amazing organization. I have done some local fundraising, supporting and “awareness-raising” for survivors of sexual abuse publicly for about four years and this is why our friends, Drs. Rhett and Bernadette McLaren, immediately thought of us when they were approached by Susie Vybiral, Founder of Room Redux, about setting up a chapter in our area. Dr. Rhett McLaren and I immediately set out to make connections and begin networking to make this happen. I set up a meeting with Jessica Miller, Chief Executive Officer at The Gingerbread House Children’s Advocacy Center to discuss working together to help these children not only heal but to have a safe place of their own to do this. Often, abuse occurs in a child’s own room. This can link the room to feelings of fear and aversion, causing the child to avoid it entirely. We give children new rooms in which they can feel comfortable and safe.  We have not only been able to partner with the Gingerbread House, but we also have partnered with Jeri Bowen at the Family Justice Center, and K.C. Kilpatrick, founder of Geaux Bags. 

Together, we can all help as many children as possible.

Our First Room Transformation

I am happy to say that, a year later, Room Redux SBC has completed our first Room  Transformation. This particular room was titled: A True Super Hero. This child loves superheroes, so we decided to make this the theme of his room. We wanted to remind him that HE is a true superhero because he was so brave to come forward about his abuse. Another dear friend of mine, local interior designer and Room Redux volunteer, Lynda Huffman and I met up with the caregiver of this child and made a plan of action to transform this child’s room. We assessed the room and created the design/layout, then we set out to make all the necessary purchases to make this dream a reality. The child never sees us and we do not see the child. The day the room is transformed, the child is not in the home. All of this is done in less than twenty-four hours (this one was done in about six hours), so when the child returns, his/her room is completely transformed. It is a complete surprise.

Now, one of the stipulations concerning the candidates for room transformations is that each one must be in counseling or have been in counseling. In addition to this, all Room Redux volunteers must undergo a background check before they are able to help in any way. The day we transformed this room, we had 21 volunteers.

It does my heart good to be able to say that we are in the process of beginning the next Room Transformation. I would love to say that we are in a position of being able to transform the rooms of every single child who has been affected by abuse, but unfortunately, that is not possible.  Realistically, and as of now, we are looking to transform at least four to five rooms per year. As we grow, we hope to be able to do many more. Our ability to do more is dependent upon donations from individuals, businesses and other organizations. It takes about $1,500-2,500 to complete a room, depending on how much furniture and decor is needed for each room. So, obviously, we need as much as we can get. Also, we not only accept monetary donations, but we also accept donations of furniture and decor. Except for mattresses, furniture does not have to be brand new, it can be used/refurbished.

Doing this kind of work means that I get to be a part of bringing hope and healing to children who have been affected by abuse and I could not possibly be more blessed to be able to do just that.

You can support the cause and donate to Room Redux SBC by going to:

sbc.roomredux.org/donate

Learn more about how you can get involved with this organization at: 

sbc.roomredux.org/get-involved