NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — A nonprofit in New Braunfels focuses on transforming abuse survivors’ rooms in an effort to help them heal.
- Room Redux remodels children’s rooms
- Helps give them a new start after a traumatic event
Through donations and grants, Room Redux fully makes over children's rooms to create a truly safe space. The organization's director says a new room gives these children a new start.
"Very often, these children are going back to the same room where sexual or physical abuse has occurred or there are triggers that remind them of the trauma. They're getting the healing in counseling and that's great, but then they go back to the room," said director Susie Vybrial. "For us to be able to go in and completely transform their personal space, their room, it's a way of showing that the world is not such a scary place."
Room Redux identifies eligible families through referrals from counselors and psychologists treating the children. The nonprofit started in 2017, and room transformations have picked up this year as the organization is constantly growing.
"Comal County, the statistics are one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. It's staggering," Susie said.
"By helping that healing process and giving them a refurbished world view or giving them the means to make that happen, our hope is that this can break the cycle and start to drop the statistics," said marketing director and Susie's son, Michael.
The room transformations are all done anonymously, so the child doesn't feel the pressure or expectation to give anything back to the volunteers.
"They don't have to do anything, they never see us," Michael said. "They don't have to come and say thank you at all, it's a gift for them to help that healing process."
Grandma Noemi Patiño's family was the latest recipient of a Room Redux transformation. In this case, three of the rooms in the house were made over, the nonprofit's largest project to date.
"These kids deserve the best," Noemi said. "The people that did the job, they did awesome. In two days, they did what they did. And as you can see, what they did is just unbelievable. I mean it's a big 'wow.'"
She said she's so grateful for the work that was done in her home.
"It's very hard seeing that there's kids out there that don't have what they're supposed to have," Noemi said. "We know money and material stuff is nothing, but the happiness on their face, their joy, that is just an amazing thing."
A team of 60 volunteers worked to transform the rooms while the family was sent away, in this case to a resort hotel so Noemi and her family could relax.
"Paint, baseboards, we've patched holes, we've done ceilings, whatever it takes for these children is what we want to do," Susie said. "Special things like homemade Afghans, artwork, we like to put very special touches, little surprises."
Each room gets its own unique name and theme.
"We name each room. So we don't call them by name, we don't talk about the children. This one in particular it was: Pineapple, Glam and Batmans and Unicorns," Susie said.
"That's half the fun, the design challenge of incorporating everybody's unique tastes into the room," Michael said.
After the transformations are complete, the children are shown their new rooms. Susie says a lot of the times, they wonder if they get to keep the things inside.
"We always put their name in the room somewhere on a plaque or on a stuffed animal so that they know that this is my room. They're usually bewildered that all of this new stuff is theirs. It's a way of showing that people who don't even know you love and care about you and want something good for you." Susie said.
The best part for Noemi is knowing the kids at home are truly happy.
"We cried of joy and happiness because there were no words to say. It was an awesome job what they did," Noemi said. "Special thanks to Mrs. Susie, she was the one who made their dreams come true."