Friday, April 1, 2011

D&OC + Foster Care Visitation Room

Happy Friday friends! Today, I want to share a project that I'll be working on over the coming month or so.

I was asked by my friend and old supervisor to help re-design a local county's foster care visitation room. In case you're not familiar with state foster care, I'll briefly explain the importance of this room. Once a child has been taken into foster care (this used to be my job, to investigate child abuse), the child can visit with family members (mostly supervised) in a small, generally dingy and depressing room known as the "visitation room." You can imagine that these visitations are important for the healing of the family, but the visits can be very painful and bittersweet. It doesn't help that these rooms are generally generic, uncomfortable and not very cheerful. Because my friend is an extraordinary social worker who has never settled for status quo, she has asked me to come in and brighten up the space a bit.

The catch is that the county can only afford $150 for the budget. I, obviously, will be donating my time, but I'm also looking for help with resources. I'd love to put up some wall decals and perhaps a child-friendly art wall after I've re-painted the space. I also think some fun toss pillows would help cheer things up and if I had it my way, I'd throw in a rug (I can always dream, right?)

 **If you are an artist, photographer, designer, or someone that wants to help with this project by donating goods that might work for this space, please let me know. I will be happy to offer free advertising space on D&OC for any business that wants to participate. If you have questions, or suggestions, or DIY ideas for the space please leave them in the comments below. I'll be posting ideas and photos as the project progresses. Thanks everyone and have a very happy weekend. xoxo

24 comments:

Ashley said...

You should check out Missy's blog! Her art is so cute:

http://lilmissmissyvw.blogspot.com/

The Blissful Academic said...

This is a really great project to take on. I am not artistically inclined, but if you need anything, let me know.

Joey Flowers said...

A mural of a garden on one wall would certainly brighten up the room!

Hell Notes for Beauty™ said...

My mom used to be a c ase worker,and it is truly a very sad situation.

Color I'm sure would be great as well as images of hope..... can't wait to see what you come up with.

Katie said...

As a counselor with a creative side, this project is EXACTLY my thing. Instead of sending you artwork, could I donate via Paypal? That way you can use it as you see fit.

Stephanie said...

That is so sweet of you!!

Unfortunately I don't make anything that would be useful in this project, but here's a thought: Katie mentioned above about PayPal donations, but also, what about setting up some sort of online wish list, where people could purchase some of the smaller items you'd need as donations and have them shipped to the foster care place?

Diana said...

Do you want some of my prints?? If you don't think it will work with the room, no worries. I haven't opened up shop and I have a ton of professional prints in my office, ready to ship.

Down and Out Chic said...

thanks everyone for your thoughts. diana- i just sent you an email.
katie- you're very sweet. i'm going to have to think about the best way to approach this. maybe starting with a wish list and going from there would be the best idea. i will definitely be in touch. thank you! xo

十十f十 said...

i just read of a designer in my country who wants to "save the world" with design, and apparently her company has done some pro bono work. i only know her website. would it help? let me know.

banclothing said...

I recently read an article about feeling satisfied about your life. There were many pieces in the pie chart and one was volunteering. The article stressed that volunteering is critical in feeling fulfilled. I have to agree, giving back is rewarding when sometimes are day jobs are not. With that said I don't volunteer nearly as much as I should but this post reminded me to make sure I include a healthy dose of volunteering.

amy said...

hey there. i think it's amazing that you're doing this. i don't know if anything from my shop would be appropriate - but if it is don't hesitate to contact me and i can donate whatever you're interested in. no need for compensation of any kind :)

Rachell Taylor said...

My only advice is CHALKBOARD WALL. It's cheap, it's something the kids can do, and when its not in use, you can draw a new decoration whenever you want!


Also, I love those brown chairs. I have one just like it, but mine has yellow leather for the cushions.

Down and Out Chic said...

amy- i will be in touch shortly. your work is fantastic. thank you so much.

rachell- yes, chalkboard wall is definitely a must. the county has actually requested one so i'll se how cheap i can get the paint!

Anonymous said...

For ten years, I was a CPS caseworker. I think what you are doing is wonderful! Those rooms are usually like closets. FIrst of all, I wonder if the room has windows and, if not, could they use another room with windows for visitation. You would be surprised what a difference that makes. I have a few other suggestions, I hope you don't mind. Keep in mind that there aren't just babies, toddlers and elementary age school children visiting with their parents. There are often teenagers and, unfortunately, they are not often considered (for example, at Christmas, people tend to donate for babies and the young children and forget the teenagers entirely). Many times, the families have a meal or snack together during the visitation. It is helpful if they have a place to put the food, not necessarily a table and chairs to sit around, but a place to spread the food out. Pillows would be a nice touch, but I don't suggest it. Please keep in mind that these rooms are used by many different people coming from many different places. It is important to limit the possibility of infestation (lice, fleas, bedbugs). I know this information may seem like a downer, but it's important to know. And there is still so much that you can do- anything to make it look less like an office! I hope you'll post pics of what you've done. There are many agencies that should consider doing just this. Good luck to you! I know the families and caseworkers will appreciate it.

Katie said...

I'm a photographer and I would be more than happy to donate prints to you. I think this is a really terrific cause! Unfortunately I'm a photographer who does NOT have a great web presence so I don't have a portfolio I can point you towards. If you want to send me an email with ideas that you have for artwork (black and white or color? people? landscapes? peaceful? energetic? etc), I can dig through my files and post the photos that I think could might work in an online album for you to look through.

Also, you should check out these links for free art:
http://ohbrooke.com/2010/02/03/lost-and-found-the-umbrella-image/
http://indiefixx.com/Feed_your_soul/downloads.html

If you need me, please let me know how I can help! :)

Take care,
Katie

Down and Out Chic said...

katie- thanks so much for your willingness to help and for the links. i'm definitely going to take a look at those.
i'll be contacting you shortly about your photos.

anonymous- you've given me some good things to think about. thank you! xo

Bromeliad said...

Awesome project.

Flynn said...

And my faith in humanity is renewed! If you need little stuff you could do an Amazon wishlist, maybe cash donations or a craigslist for bigger stuff? This is a great idea.

abby jenkins said...

What a wonderful project! I am an art director and have a ton of props that I would love to donate. Just let me know what you need...

abby jenkins said...

you have inspired me to contact our local office and see if I can help there. thank you.

ana b. said...

This is great, Christina! Our rooms at Child, Youth and Family could do with someone like you and something like this. You're an angel. I'm happy to donate but not quite sure what. Let me know if you need anything.

robyn said...

Hello, my name is Robyn, and I'd love to help out. Claire Kiefer sent me an email about this post thinking I might be interested. She mentioned that my bunting garlands might be a nice fit.
I have mini paper ones that I could make any length for you
http://www.flickr.com/photos/robayre/4713843813/
and
I can make fabric ones like these below
http://www.flickr.com/photos/robayre/4889335248/
I also make original artwork, and I'd be willing to make and donate a piece similar to the ones I've linked below, if you think they'd fit with the rest of the decor.
http://www.etsy.com/transaction/30983961
http://www.etsy.com/transaction/34742421
if you are interested, please feel free to email me at robayre (at) aol dot com

Kate said...

Hi,

I'd be happy to donate some prints if you could use them! Any particular theme?? I also do some color-field type prints... maybe that would be good? Anyway contact me at ksutlive@gmail.com if I can help out!

Kate

drollgirl said...

this is a great idea, and a great challenge. and you are the one for the job!

i have extra art at home, but somehow i can't think of any that would be quite appropriate for such a space. but if i do find something when i get home tonight i will be sure to let you know!

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