Leavenworth County couple’s foster care village progressing as community center opens

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LINWOOD, Kan. — A unique concept to address Kansas’ overburdened foster care system is starting to take shape in Linwood.

FOX4 first highlighted Sarah and Justin Oberndorfer, the couple behind Joy Meadows, more than two years ago. The veteran foster parents dreamed of a building a foster care community.

“This whole thing is a miracle,” Justin said.

On Tuesday, Nebraska Furniture Mart donated furniture and movers assembled it in a newly renovated community center that sits on the sprawling property the couple purchased last October.

“It was a 3,200-square area that really had no purpose, and now I feel like we’ve maximized every inch of that space,” Justin said.

“We couldn’t help but feel inspired,” said Andy Shefsky, the community and public relations manager for Nebraska Furniture Mart. “We said let us make this the best possible, warm and inspiring feeling, comfort and security for children.”

“Foster kids deserve excellence,” Sarah added. “They usually just get the leftovers, so this is amazing.”

Not to be confused with a group home, part of the goal of Joy Meadows is to place foster children in Johnson, Wyandotte, Leavenworth and Douglas counties in single-family homes on the property, which also houses play areas, a clothing closet, an orchard and small animals.

Purchasing the land and building out the community center was Phase 1.

“When a foster family comes in here, they’re going to be able to have occupational therapy, speech pathologist, behavioral therapy, family counseling,” Sarah said.

Phase 2 of the couple’s vision includes the construction of three homes, scheduled to begin as early as November. Joy Meadows will launch a $1 million campaign to fund the project in October.

“We’re hoping for individuals that are builders, contractors, who are really passionate about what we’re doing, making a difference in the lives of foster kids, to come on board and support at whatever level they can,” Justin said.

“It’s just overwhelming and exciting, and I can’t wait to see all of the kids we’re going to be able to impact,” Sarah added.

The Oberndofers said Joy Meadows would not be possible if it weren’t for the generosity of donors and organizations that believe in what they’re doing.

You can learn more about their vision and how to help Joy Meadows here

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