Actress and Rhinebeck resident Hilarie Burton was all smiles as she showed off the renovations at Astor Services for Children and Families.
"There was a whole community of children that needed attention, and I was craving children so it was a good fit," said Burton.
We got a tour of the newly-renovated residential units for ages 5-13. Burton said getting involved for her was personal.
"I had experienced a miscarriage and that was really tough for me. Some moms I knew were trying to give me some busy work and they were like, 'Oh, you should come over and look at Astor; you should check that out,' " said Burton.
So she did with her friends from the group Families from Astor, setting off a nearly three-year fundraising and volunteerism campaign to support the child services non profit.
The staff and volunteers designed the space specifically with the youth in mind. Everything, from the colors on the wall to the decals that were selected, represent the youth that live there.
The youth additionally had a say in selecting what their space looked like — which they described as helping them feel more comfortable.
"They get to reinvent who they are; here, you're not a kid that had something bad happen, you're a farmer," said Burton.
The staff at Astor said it took a village to get the work done, and their village was a team of dedicated volunteers.
Local contractors helped with renovation work pro-bono. Burton said her fan base helped get furnishings and decorations, which she said was sometimes a challenge.
"You'd think you could plug anything into Amazon and be like, 'Yeah, I want a bumble bee blanket,' but unless it's Transformers, there are no bumblebee blankes that aren't for a baby," said Burton.
After this week, youth on these residential wings now have a space they can truly call their own.
"They say that you should put your grief to work, and I really believe in that, because this place saved me as much as I've been able to help it," said Burton.