Emily Henderson Header Image Emily Henderson

A Family Shelter Makeover

If you only sometimes read the blog I beg you to read this post (and watch the video at the end). Please.

Think of the children. I’m not being flippant. To prove it – here are children:

starke-family

That’s my family 34 years ago (I was the baby). That was before Ken and Katy were born, before we grew to be this family:

starke-emily

I think if you look closely, you can see one eyebrow between the 7 of us (way to go, mom!).

Here we all are – the whole family. Wait, no, that is still ‘BK’ – what we likes to call ‘Before Katy’ – when we had all the real fun. Like when we went on the 6 week tour around the US in that motor home in 1985:

starke-family

Charlie Henderson was apparently there – in my dad’s arms. That’s my little brother, but isn’t that INSANE?

Here we all are now, minus 4 new grandkids (soon to be 5):

emily-henderson-starke-family 2

But let’s go back into the past:

Despite the fact that my parents were both teachers and they already had 6 kids, we grew up often having foster siblings. I don’t know if it was necessarily through the foster program or if it was through my church. It was never like 5 extra kids, normally just a pair of siblings: A brother/sister duo when I was really little, 2 sisters when I was a bit older and a couple teenage boys when I was 10. My parents are the kind of people who see a need and fills it. And when there were kids that needed a better environment, my parents would take them in. I always wondered if it were somehow easier once you have so many kids – like what is 2 more? And I’ve never really asked my parents about it – whether it was a hard decision or if it was just second nature or both. Regardless, now I realize how amazing it was of them to do that, and how much it affected both the kids and our lives. Seeing that kind of charity and service in such an everyday comfortable way was a total gift to us, really. It’s like every day we learned how to help others on a very base level. Sure, there were times when I was like ‘really? more people???’ but now, looking back I realize just how valuable it really was to everyone involved. It’s hard to know what values will stick with you, right? I certainly don’t live my life just constantly serving others like my parents always have, but I know that as I get more and more into my 30’s, there is a compulsion to do so. This is probably based on how I was raised.

Last year was the time when I could financially think about volunteering my time with foster kids, and right now, the best most realistic way for me to help is to design a home. But for whom?

I sought out working with foster kids in some way but I couldn’t really find the right situation. I was talking to my nanny about it because she does a lot of foster care volunteering and she mentioned this family shelter that was in trouble. The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission,  a family homeless shelter, burned down to the ground and as you can probably suspect the rebuild didn’t have a huge budget for a design team.

the fire 1 the fire

No one got hurt, but a lot of personal items were lost. The neighboring palette company caught on fire in the middle of the night and it jumped over. They are rebuilding the shelter to be a bigger, better shelter

For those of us that were raised in a stable home, the idea of homelessness is sad and heartbreaking when we see it, but it’s an abstract concept – something that we can’t really relate to and are rarely really forced to confront. Furthermore, what we see even less are the thousands of families,  with children, who are living in their car or in tents on the street because they’ve lost their jobs, then their homes and had no real recourse. Life is expensive in LA, there is a serious lack of affordable housing, so often the street or car becomes the only option.

In case you aren’t really hearing the situation, it is this: Most of these kids (and their parents) sleep in cars in fast food parking lots, then go to school just to come back to their car at 3pm – at Jack in the Box. Not to totally emotionally manipulate you, but think about having to raise your newborn or your 3-year-old in your car and think about how confusing and uncomfortable (to say the least) it probably is for everyone involved.

The level of resilience and toughness of these kids and parents would shock you.

FAMILY SHELTER CHILDREN

But there is a hope:

The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission helps families by taking them in, giving them a dignified space to get back on their feet, and mentoring/training them to be successful on their own. Once your situation is that dire, it might feel impossible to get out of it. The right kind of educational and personal help is intensely valuable to get people out of homelessness and into their own homes. 

So, their new building is being built. It’s a former school that was foreclosed upon in the valley and they bought it with the intent to have a bigger, better, safer home with more facilities to help the families grow strength and dignity before they move into their own homes. In short: it’s going to be awesome.

mission shelter_emily wade brady ginny_construction site

The team at the mission is pretty amazing, led by Wade who is full of vision and generosity, with smart solutions to very nuanced and ugly problems. They dedicate their lives to making other lives better. That is some seriously good people, right there. In case there is any doubt about motives here – it’s a non-profit that is not government-funded and only funded by donations. I am not getting paid but I’m volunteering my teams time (meaning that they are getting paid). 

My goal is to design the large 16, 000 square feet home so it feels like one big, giant, warm hug. Plus it will be a really pretty, stylish, and cohesive hug full of comfortable furniture and tasteful finishes. It will feel like a home that will inspire them to rebuild their life, full of the tools and people who dedicate their lives to supporting that.

tour of the the mission shelter

 

FAMILY SHELTER CHILDREN 2

Here are the hard and fast facts about the project:

– It is a 16, 000 square foot home which is basically the size of 8 average houses. It includes 11 family rooms, 2 common living areas, a communal dining room, a computer lab (for kids homework and parents jobs search), a community garden, outdoor play area for the kids and a new mom room – for the new single mom. Plus some offices for the management, laundry areas, and 6 bathrooms.  We need 40 twin bunk beds, sofas, dining tables and chairs, rugs, lamps, side tables, and of course bedding.

– We need help through donations from you – or ANYONE. If you are a large company that can afford to donate furniture, textiles, accessories, WONDERFUL. We would be soooo grateful and obviously you’ll get lots of love on the blog and social media.

– If you have any services (assistant, painting, landscaping, unpacking boxes, messengering, just general helping out, etc) and you would like to donate those services, awesome. Again, I’ll give you love. The construction is underway and the building is being fully built thanks to KB Home,  The Pacific Companies,  The Perlman Family,  Westfield Shopping Centers,  Walt Disney Co., and TempurSealy.

– Families move in in July – that is right around the corner, folks.

Watch this video to see the space and learn more about the project:

– If you don’t live in LA (or if you do) and want to help, then you are in luck because we’ve created an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds for the shelter. We set the IndieGOGO for $35k, but we need like $200K. I haven’t done this before and didn’t want to be the chump that put up a $200K campaign up and only got $20K. Instead we want to be that campaign that goes for 35K and gets $350K. YEA. Let’s do that.

To thank you:

– If you spend more than $20, then we will write your name on the wall in the space – and a personal thank you on the blog. In my mind we will create an awesome wallpaper with everybody’s names that donated and we’d paper the corridor or the stairway (if we can get a wallpaper manufacture to donate – we aren’t using the funds for that). And PS, only 1500 of you need to spend that for us to reach our goal)

– If you spend more than $500 then I will give you a free 1/2 hour phone consultation where we go over any rooms in your house that you want, based on your photos with any recommendations I have for you. Ask me anything – I’m yours for 1/2 hour.

I know that you are all bombarded by crowdfunding often, and most of you probably give back already in many ways. But if you have anything extra you can spare, we would so gratefully appreciate it. If you read this blog you are someone who probably who knows how important your ‘home’ is to you. We are all emotionally connected to the space directly surrounding us and it affects the rest of our day. The design of your home is not the key to your success, but when you feel comfortable and safe it frees up emotional and mental space to accomplish other, more important things – like searching for jobs, raising kids and finding a permanent home of your own for your family.

Because no child should ever have to sleep on the street or in a car. Ever.

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Please head over to the Indiegogo campaign. Check it out, think about it and donate if you can. Thank you so much in advance, from me, Wade Trimmer and his wonderful team, and most importantly all the families and children who are about to have a safe bed to sleep in.

All donation info HERE and obviously the more you spread the word the closer we get to our goal. Thank you so much.

xx

Emily

See the first update post here, a last little nudge to our indiegogo campaign here, an art roundup of our favorite work from the artists that have donated here, and a big thank you to those who donated here.

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  1. Such an awesome project! Wish I lived nearby so I could help out in person. <3

  2. I really commend you for being involved with this, what a wonderful way to give back in an area that you are obviously so talented and passionate about.

    I know many like myself read these blogs and see all the wonderful spaces you guys create and lament over our own inability to buy that wonderful painting or afford a house with that size kitchen, etc. Things like this really put it in perspective, most of us on this site are incredibly fortunate in the grand scheme of things. I could not give much, but I am happy to contribute what I can. Good luck with the project! I am excited to see it unfold.

    1. Kelsey nailed it. I Commend you, Team Emily Henderson! This is amazing, and a pretty huge project to take on! Will do what I can, I look so forward to see how this unfolds! PS that video gave me ALL the feels.

    2. Your parents sound awesome. As are you, and this campaign! What a thoughtful and generous way to use your talents.

  3. Thank you for doing this – for talking about homelessness and the effects of an unstable home environment on kids and families. I work for a national nonprofit that supports local affordable housing developers and community development organizations and the stuff you talk about is why I love love love my job, no matter how much it wears me out. Best of luck with this project and your crowdfunding campaign. My dedication to working in a nonprofit plus my kid (and another on the way) makes it difficult to scrounge up lots to donate, but I’ll find something.

  4. I volunteer to help all the shelter parents looking for a job write and design a resume. I am fluent in Spanish, and can help with any hispanic clients. I also (duh) have graphic design skills. How do I sign up to do this?

  5. Kudos!
    A terrific use of your talent. I’m getting ready to spend several hundred dollars on new lights (inspired by you), so how can I not give a little to let these families live in a place that is a tiny bit happier.
    Angela

  6. This is incredible!
    I will make a donation right now.
    I just hired Homepolish LA last week to re-do my dining room and bedroom. Guess what color we are painting my big bright dining room…??? HAGUE BLUE. Duh!
    Cant wait to see how this mission project comes along. You go, mama!

  7. What a wonderful thing to do. I am making a donation today. If I lived in LA I would love to donate my time but since I don’t I can at least send money. You are a blessing for doing this Emily!

  8. you have blown my mind. i often think/write, “you are making the world a better place” because you are creating spaces in the world in peoples homes and hearts and minds that are inspired and full of love… but this is on a whole other level.
    Thank you for being you Emily!

    1. I’m with you, so inspiring!

  9. This is awesome. Good luck with your Indiegogo campaign!

  10. Thank you. Every child deserves to be loved, cherished and have a safe place to live.

  11. Sigh. You’re so awesome. Thanks for helping people all over the place! Also, you MUST drink a lot of coffee, right? RIGHT?! Who has that much energy? 🙂 Going to donate now.

  12. Congratulations to your parents for being such a great example! This project proves, once again, that you are genuinely worthy of all the goodness coming your way. Good luck with everything!!

  13. This is such a creative and generous use of your time and talent! As the treatment director of a foster care program in Texas, I see a lot of facilities that could use some design TLC but don’t have the funds to do so. Creating an environment that feels like home is such an important element for the foster kids that have experienced abuse, neglect, and trauma in their own homes. These kids will have good memories of a safe place to stay in hard times thanks to your team!

  14. I would love to help style, sort donations, donate, anything that I might be able to help with please let me know what I can do. Don’t hesitate to email me.

  15. What a wonderful project! My work has had volunteer events at this shelter, and I have met some of the most amazing families. I was heartbroken when I hear about the fire, but I’m so excited for the great new facilities they will have. I will be donating.

  16. Thank you for doing this!! It’s so good to see good work happening right here and now.

  17. THIS IS SO GREAT!!! GOOD JOB, EMILY! (yes i did all caps lol)
    it is so easy to take my comfortable life for granted. i am so thankful that my kids have a safe place to sleep. i want that for every kid.

  18. Emily! This is so great, and I can’t wait to see the finished product that you and the team at Home Polish come up with. I’m sure it’s going to be a winning combo, on all fronts.

    Best,
    Josh – The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.com

  19. Sister, high fives all around. I only have one little viking child and I’m a hot mess most of the time. I also find now that I’m a mom, EVERYTHING involving kids gets to me. (Oh, I also live in constant fear that something will happen to my own but that’s a crazy for another day.) Reading your post had me in tears (seriously, what the hell has happened to me??) and I can’t express more how many props I’m sending you for tackling this project. We all have so much to be thankful for, and what a kick ass way to give back. And I’m all up on it.

  20. This is so amazing. Not only will I donate but I am checking out ways to help locally as well. You are an inspiration!

  21. Hi Emily! This sounds like an amazing program. I’m an art consultant in Newport Beach and I’m wondering if I can help in some way with art for the home? Let me know!

  22. Donated. And if I were local I’d be there painting. I strangely love painting and helping people.

  23. This is an awesome cause! I’m in San Diego but I would love to come up and help unpack boxes/paint/do whatever! How do i sign up?

  24. I have learned in life that we are blessed in order that we can be a blessing to others and this is your way, it’s beautiful. I hope you exceed your goal on this one. I think if we all share this on our social media then we can spread the word and raise what you need to create beautiful spaces for these well deserving families.

  25. Long time reader here, first time posting. I just wanted to say “thank you, Emily!” for doing this. You don’t just do beautiful homes, you make this world beautiful!

  26. Wow, as if you aren’t already busy enough. Very generous project. I am on disability and unable to help but you will get plenty I am sure. Cute family story.

  27. Hi Emily! I would love to donate my services. I do home organization and decorating. Sounds like you and the peeps at Homepolish have the decorating covered, but I’m very familiar with moving, unpacking, etc. and generally would be willing to be an extra pair of hands. Is there a link/email I can send my info to? xx

  28. What a wonderful tribute to your family and your LDS upbringing. Service/love for fellow man is a very integral part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
    I applaud you–going to donate now.

  29. “It ruined my life in a really good way.” -Wade
    Oh, that more lives world be ruined in pursuit of justice and hope for our neighbors! Thanks for doing this good work!

  30. I’m having trouble getting the perk. I want to pay for the donation but to have my son’s name written on the wall (instead of having my name written on the wall).

  31. Thank you for not only volunteering your time and talent, but also for bringing attention to the plight of poor families. I read this article http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/03/06/the-terrible-loneliness-of-growing-up-poor-in-robert-putnams-america/ about Robert Putnam’s new book “Our Kid’s: The American Dream in Crisis,” just yesterday. Whether you agree with Putnam’s thesis or not, he brings attention to a problem that all of us who are thinking “what is the perfect grey for my bedroom?” can sometimes forget. Thanks for doing the same!

  32. I’m a photographer with UGallery and i’d love to donate some of my prints. I just finished a beautiful petal study that you can view at the link below. http://www.alilanenga.com/petal-study

    1. THANK YOU!!! We’l be in touch. xx

  33. Thanks for sharing this story with us and enabling us to help in a small way. I live in the UK so can’t help in person, but if everyone who can gives a small amount, hopefully it will add up to a large amount to make a huge difference in people’s lives. Good luck to you and everyone involved.

  34. This. Is. Amazing. Sending you money and luck!

  35. Here’s my perspective take from it what you will. The amount of information, pleasure and entertainment I get from reading your blog all these years is absolutely positively worth a $100 donation. You are amazing and this is the absolute least l I can do to thank you for all you have provided me in laughs alone.
    As my Mom would say “Emily Henderson you’re a good egg”.

    1. THANK YOU. It’s funny because I thought about saying something like ‘think about every post you’ve read and put a price tag on their worth to you’ but then I didn’t because that’s not why I write them. SO THANK YOU for your donation. Seriously.

  36. Emily,
    We never met but I feel like I know you through your blog, you share so much of who you, your family, friends and co-workers are. If I didn’t love you enough, I love you more for this!!! What a huge difference you’re making. You’re creating memories that last a lifetime and pass on from generation to generation. I know! I was born in South America with nothing and lived in a converted garage turned into various little one rooms. I ! But my parents wanted more and by some grace of god we came to the US of A when I was 7. Although I was young, I remember those times vividly! My sister and I didn’t know what we didn’t have, we just had what we had. But I remember the ladies who were so generous with our family. They would buy us clothes and would invite us to their house to watch TV-that was huge!! 🙂 I never forgot them. Today, I’m blessed many times over. So I pass it on and I teach and show my daughter to pass it on and how to pass it on, because we are truly blessed. So you see, this is what you’re creating. Memories, generosity and kindness that will be passed on for generations. Truly beautiful ! Our family will also be donating. Thank you Emily!!!

    1. That’s amazing. Such a good story and thank you so much for the support :+xx

  37. What a great cause, Emily. Consider pillows yours! After everything you’ve done to get my name out there and support my business, it’s the least I can do.

  38. Oh, Emily, what a wonderful cause! Thank you for volunteering your time and talents, as well as that or your team. I plan to donate.

    I love seeing people with so little having a space that will make them feel safe and loved.

    There is a lot of good in this world!

  39. Such an incredible cause that will make such a difference in so many lives!

    You will probably have art covered with the general decor, but if you need help in that arena ( I specify artwork for hospitals and other healthcare facilities, so am familiar with large scale, small budget projects, more info http://artsyforager.com/services-2/servicesart-curation-consulting/ and ), I would love to volunteer my services. My email is listed here, but if there is an address where I can direct my offer officially, please let me know!

    This made my day to see the good that you are determined to do!

  40. This is amazing and made me legit cry! It’s so humbling to have these reminders of how incredibly fortunate I am and to be reminded of the responsibility that comes along with that good fortune to help others more. What a great marriage of your skills with a real need. Thank you for taking this on and for giving us an opportunity to help through donations.

    Also, I hope all your sponsors and donors know that seeing their engagement in causes like this does a million times more to get me to buy their products or use their services than any commercial ever could!

  41. Love this project and am looking forward to cheering Team Emily along via blog posts. The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, so all donations (big and small) are 100 percent tax-deductible. $500 tax-deductible donation + 30 minutes of design help from Emily? Best deal ever!

  42. Emily, my respect for you as a designer and a human being just keeps growing. You are truly an inspiration for all the work you’ve done over the years for people that really need it. Some of your best work has come when you’ve donated your time – for the senior citizens home, to the animal shelter, and now this! You’re one of the few designers who donates her services with such an open heart and the world could definitely use more people like you. Lots of love to the families that are going to benefit from this project!

  43. and then I found myself tearing up at work because it’s so nice to see people care about other people. love this. thanks for so being you.

  44. Just made my donation! How could I not… go team Emily xxxx

  45. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking on this massive, wonderful, beautiful, special project. I could probably fit a few more adjectives in there but I’ll stop while I’m ahead. So many people refuse to empathize with those who are really struggling– blaming their misfortunes on poor decisions, laziness, etc instead of seeing them as people who are trying to do the best they can for their families.

    My parents also took in people who needed a place to live when I was young, before we found ourselves stuck on the poverty line for many years. I always knew it could be so much worse and was grateful for everything we had. When I look back I’m also incredibly thankful for the perspective it gave me, and for that I wouldn’t change a thing. It warms my heart and makes me proud to know that my favorite “designer/blogger/tv person” is someone who understands, cares, and seeks out opportunities to help struggling families. So, THANK YOU! I will most certainly be donating.

  46. Oh, Emily, it might be my little girl staring up at me as I read your post, it might be pregnancy, it might be Ed Sheeran playing in the background, I don’t know, but the tears are just streaming down my face. Thank you for reminding me of my blessings and that a life lived in service of others is a very meaningful one. I will be making a donation and will match it with one dedicated to something more local to me, as well.

  47. Just sent an email around to get my company on board, Emily. Let’s see what magic we can whip up!

  48. For never having done this crowdfunding thing, can I just say you have a backup career in fundraising.

    Brilliantly, brilliantly written. As someone who works in the nonprofit funding space it is a shame to me when well-meaning individuals mistakenly diminish the end-users in their pleas for help. I left this post wanting to give myself, to honor these amazing people rather than to pity them. Thank you so much for your sensitivity and approach.

  49. What a wonderful thing to do for others!

  50. This is incredible Emily – just donated to the project. I really hope you meet your goal!!! What a mitzvah you are doing for this much deserving community.

  51. I am an artist and teacher in Louisiana and I teach talented art to a wonderful group of elementary age students. If you have a place for art made by kids in your designs, we would love to provide it. Please contact me if this is something you would like.

  52. I do these really bright and fun floral paintings that are very girly but really cool too. I’d happily donate a super large scale one to The San Fernando Rescue Mission. If you’re interested, I can send some images.

  53. For furniture you might try contacting Wyndham Resorts. Their timeshare resorts change out all of their furnishings every three years or so. Each resort is required to donate the used furniture to a local nonprofit. If there is a Wyndham Resort in Southern California they may be able to help you.
    I was involved with furnishing some transitional housing for at risk youth in our area and Wyndham donated all of the furniture for six houses. It was in very good condition and tasteful.
    Bravo to you and your team, Emily.

  54. I live in LA and would love to donate my time to whatever painting, unpacking, moving, etc, that needs to be done. I have a two kids, 6 and 3, and I really want to involve them in meaningful service projects. Would there it be possible for them to help in some way, too?

  55. Thank you for doing this and using your powers for good (sorry watching a superhero movie right now). This hits close to home as we have recently welcomed our nephew into our home. If we didnt he could very well be in a facility like this one. Off to donote and I just wish we were closer to volunteer our time as well!

  56. So lovely. Thanks for raising awareness. My husband and I just spent the last year and a half living in and running a group home (like fostering) and we were able to learn about and share our lives with 16 kids between the ages of 13-19. Super hard work, but we have felt so lucky to have fallen in love with such great kids. We are both teachers in Connecticut, but I am happy to contribute (even though I wish we could donate more!) to any program funding the opportunity for kids to find warmth and safety and one which provides an avenue for families to find strength and support as they navigate tough times. Bravo; I am sure your design will be the finishing touch on a beautiful program!

  57. I think what you’re doing is amazing, and I was super happy to stop by and toss some money in the pot!

    I do have a small suggestion though; this comes from helping run a few crowdfunding things in my own city too, including a outreach mobile RV that brings healthcare to the homeless:

    Give more donor spots – if you look at most successful crowdfunding efforts, they have spots for 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 30 dollars, 100 dollars, etc – at least 5 different “spots”.

    It’s all good and well to ask everyone to donate from the kindness of their hearts – and don’t get me wrong at all, we all SHOULD donate from such a loving space – but what typically gets people to spend more than that first pledge spot (in this case, 20 dollars) are the little incentives. Even if it’s a book mark, people will pay a little more for extra prizes.

    It’s likely too late now to change anything, and I know logistics are a pain in the ass when you’re trying to offer extra incentives – after all, who is gonna sit down and write out all 4000 names at the end?! But I really hope your interest in not-for-profit projects continues, because you have great access to all the right resources, right here in the readership of your blog.

    Best wishes on your funding! I’ll spread the word too.

  58. visiting your blog always brings a smile to my face. but today i also had to hold back tears watching this video. the happiness, love and honesty that you bring to your blog everyday is so inspiring. i’ve never commented before but just wanted to say thanks for being such an inspiration. this is such a wonderful project and i can’t wait to donate.

    i am looking forward to following the progress of this project and am crossing my fingers you exceed your fundraising goals!

    1. I never commented before either, but this post leaves us no choice, right?! Cheers to you!

  59. Thanks so much for giving us all the opportunity to be involved with this project! It’s wonderful that you can help create a peaceful, happy environment for those in need.

    If you are in need of any artwork, my husband and I would be happy to donate, if you felt that the work was the right fit. He is a professional illustrator, you can see his work here: http://corygodbey.com

    Have you reached out to Spoonflower about creating the custom wallpaper? They are a incredible company, very giving. I’ve worked with their team directly many times and could put you in contact if needed.

    Cheers for the work ahead!

  60. I would love to donate dishes and time. If you can post how we can volunteer I’d love to sign myself and my team up. I grew up in the SFV and while most people scoff at me for being a Valley girl, this cause makes me proud to support the community I was once a part of. Cheers to you for your big heart and generous spirit. The world could use a lot more Emilys.

    xo,

  61. Emily and team, you guys are such wonderful human beings. Thank you for doing this and taking us on the journey with you. I am grateful to be a part of something like this, if only as a $20 contributor.

  62. I’m not the only one sobbing, right?

    I grew up in an area with a lot of poverty but surprisingly not a lot of homelessness. Living conditions might have been spartan and run-down, but people still had places to live. The thought of homeless children just breaks my heart.

    I can’t give as much as I’d like because I just had a very large, unexpected car repair bill, but I will definitely donate. I love that so many people are giving so generously, and I hope you’ll keep us updated.

  63. Way to go Emily! You are a blessing to your community, how wonderful for you to spend your time, talents, money and effort this way. I just donated and can’t wait to see how much you raise! Here’s to 200k!!

  64. Good stuff!!

    Thank you for not only being charitable yourself, but opening up an opportunity for so many others to help, too. People like you and Wade are so important to make us mortals able to contribute to something bigger that has a big impact.

  65. I live in LA and would love to donate time to this project. I am killer with a paintbrush, and I’d love to bring my five-year-old along for the ride, too. Please let us know where to sign up, or shoot me an email. Awesome project, Ms. Henderson. I’m stoked.

  66. Thank you! I am a huge supporter in the fight against poverty and homelessness…and it is refreshing and amazing to see others do the same. I volunteer here in Chicago with various organizations…and recently helped build homes in Africa with Habitat for Humanity. Wish I lived closer so I could volunteer my architecture skills…but, I at least donated 🙂 I look forward to seeing the progress of this mission project, but most importantly…I CAN’T WAIT to see the SMILES on those families faces!

  67. Done! Emily, your blog is a HUGE (free) service to me so I’m happy to donate to such a worthy cause on its own merits, but also as a small form of payback for all that you’ve given me. Good luck with the campaign and the re-design! And thank you.

  68. What a great cause, Emily! In addition to making a monetary donation, I would love to help furnish the space with some bright artwork and will be happy to supply any prints from my shop.

  69. Emily and team! You are amazing! Thank you for putting my own design wants/needs into perspective. Everyone deserves a beautiful, safe, and happy home.
    I hope to be able to come out and volunteer. In the meantime, I will donate 🙂
    You guys are the best!!

  70. I am so happy to know you! You are awesome! Wish I could give more but there are probably a lot of us out there so watch out! You touch me so, with your love, transparency, your energy and talent. I could go on. You spent some time with my daughter at your garage sale so i have some lovely blue glass she got from you which makes me happy…to have a little piece of you…like some of my other friends. Things that perce on a shelf that remind me of their and your great spirits. Thank you for all you do. Blessings on you and yours.

  71. Wow. Wow. Wow. You’re amazing. What an incredible undertaking. You are truly an angel. Thank you for everything you do.

  72. As a foster parent and fan of your blog/style (and fellow Oregonian), this just makes me so happy. I cannot wait to see what you do with the building. Thank you for bringing some attention to the foster care world. It doesn’t get enough. Your parents sound like such generous, loving people. But it also sounds like you and your family got a lot out of the experience as well (as you said yourself) – such an important message. Thank you again.

  73. Emily,

    Thank you! My favorite post to date. In my county in Florida approx 7 kids per day come into foster care. In the US the annual # is 250K and half NEVER LEAVE. People can help without becoming foster parents and you certainly have done your part.

    Thanks!

  74. Emily, let us know if you need any extra pillows or rugs, we’re happy to help a good cause!

    — Steven

  75. I didn’t think I could love you more than I did but I do now.! You had me at the Foster kids that your parents used to take in.

  76. Just say the word, Em, and my little wood shop that could would be so honored to donate some custom furniture pieces to the cause. I love everything about this. Down to support however we can!

  77. I love this post!! I have two foster kids living with me right know, and it really wasn’t until I had done all the training and had these kids placed in my home that I understood the problem there is in our world today! Thank you for you love and support for reaching out to help these kids!!

  78. This is GREAT ! Made me love this blog even more

  79. Dude am I the only one that felt like Emily was hinting at a major upcoming announcement?! Other than this awesome project that she is doing of course!

  80. SO GREAT!!! And this is why I love the blog and Team Emily. You rock. Way to go. Indiegogo here I come!

  81. Emily, thank you.

    I looked this up and realized I live a few blocks from the rescue mission. How did I not know of its existence?! I would love to volunteer my time – I can paint, assist, anything! I also work in video production and can round up a crew if you need any more videos.

  82. I’m super late catching up on my “stories” (i.e. favorite blogs) but man did this make my morning. Yes, I did cry thinking about trying to live in my car with my 6-month old. We can, and must, do better for our communities. This is a wonderful project and I’m looking forward to supporting you with a donation, and then cheering your team on as you post updates. Good luck!

  83. Hi Emily, This is such a wonderful project that you are taking on. I’ve been following you since your Design star days & love your style. I’m a fellow designer based in NJ. I thank your parents for giving you the values you grew up with & made you this fantastic person. Thank you for being Awesome!!

  84. Just donated! Good luck with this big project and thank you for taking this on. It’s really wonderful.

  85. Hi Emily! I was so touched and moved by this project and how you are using your gifts to serve others in need. Thank you for allowing others to be a part of this. What a blessing this will be to the families in need. I live in LA and would love to offer my time opening boxes, organizing… Basically whatever is needed. Please let me know how to sign up! I’m all yours!! Can’t wait to see the final project.

  86. This is just fantastic Emily. Thank you for doing this and for letting us all be a part of it. In addition to a financial contribution I also have a small hoard of vintage smalls that I would be happy to donate if you are in need of those things. Vintage housewares and home decor like art, vases, candle holders, bowls, trays,and brass (lots of brass).

  87. Hey everyone: giving to this cause feels great!
    Trust me, I procrastinated for a while, then donated. I can assure you (based on my scientific experiment) that afterwards feels better than before.
    Plus, it is super easy and you’ll be helping people in real need.

  88. What a great cause! I’m a former copy editor, former high school teacher, current stay-at-home mom in L.A., and would be more than happy to donate my time in any way that I can–manual labor, paperwork, anything really! I spent time in a family shelter as a teenager and it was fundamental in helping me secure a safe and stable adult life. This is so, so important and it’s truly amazing that you are taking on this project.

  89. This is really glorious! So happy. My brother-in-law is an artist in Japan and painted an oil painting of a mother feeding rice to her children that might be nice in a space like this–maybe in the kitchen area. Where do we send files for you to see if you’d be interested in? If you liked the piece we’d take care of printing it large, shipping, etc.

  90. Hi All,
    Love this project and would be so happy to help out. I’ve renovated about 20 homes and would be thrilled to join the design team and volunteer my time- sourcing, digging up donations, picking the pieces that make that “Hug” happen. I live in La Canada, near Pasadena- and can easily jump on board.
    Let me know if you could use a hand and bravo to all of you,
    Jessica

  91. Hi Emily! I just read your post via my blog reader, so I’m a little late in the game. I work for a company called Natural Life and handle all give back. We’d LOVE to donate some items for this shelter. We have some really fun art (http://www.naturallife.com/home-and-gifts/art.html) that seems perfect for this. All of our products aim to inspire others to live happier.

    Let’s talk! We’d love to help out with this project.

  92. Hi Emily! How can we get involved as individuals to help with painting, unpacking, anything extra? xo