Girls living at a children's home experienced some makeover magic when volunteers from the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills (JLOSH) teamed up with local businesses recently.
Over several days, the volunteers prepped and painted walls, laid new carpets, replaced furniture and added accent pieces such as art and books to transform the house into a welcoming home.
So delighted were the girls with the results that for the first time they have started asking to bring school friends home, reports Kate Lee, President of JLOSH which is based on Main Street, Millburn.
"Fresh paint and new furnishings can't make up for the support of your own family, but they do let the girls know that a lot of people care about them and want to make their lives better. This has a great impact on their self-esteem, and that is enormously valuable," she said.
The home, run by Isaiah House in East Orange, shelters up to a dozen young women aged 14-21 from Essex County, many from families in crisis.
Zameah Bivens-Gibson, Executive Director of Isaiah House, said the makeover went way beyond their expectations. "The place now looks like something from a magazine. It is comfortable and welcoming, and the girls are now proud to live here.
"We had been trying to do something like this for years. We've always had the heart and the love of a family home but until now we didn't have the physical environment that matches."
The makeover began with JLOSH putting out a call for gently used furniture, and donations came in from all over its service area - Millburn, Short Hills, Maplewood, the Oranges, Springfield and Livingston.
Several local businesses donated their services and materials. Eduardo Picado and his team at JMP Painting prepped and primed all the spaces, Sherwin Williams provided the paint and volunteers, and Cove Carpets laid wall to wall carpeting in rooms and hallways.
The girls played their part too, baking cookies for the volunteer workers at the completion of the project.
Isaiah House is a nonprofit agency for children and families in Essex County, New Jersey that provides temporary lodging, food, social and financial services, as well as comfort and hope for over 100 families a year. Community based and supported, the organization was set up with the help of the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills in 1984.
The Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills, Inc. is an organization of women developed as civic and community leaders creating lasting community impact. It reaches out to women of all races, religions and national origins. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. To learn more about JLOSH, visit www.jlosh.org or find it on Facebook.