Renovation competition benefits Stepping Stone Housing for Homeless Teens

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A week-long competition to remodel two apartments for homeless teens commenced on Sunday.

The Junior Service League in Independence split into teams, and rolled up their sleeves for two amazing transformations.

"There were Christmas lights being used as extra lights in here, green carpet and woven material on the walls. We tried to just brighten it up," said Natalie Nowiszewski with the Junior Service League.

And they only had a week to do it; sanding, painting, flooring and all. Most of the materials were bought at cost or donated, and dozens of Junior Service League members and their friends and family joined the effort.

“It’s a 15’ by 20’ room so it’s hard to cram 20 people in here and get the work done,” said Nowiszewski.

They spent the whole week transforming a tiny kitchen, bathroom and bedroom into a welcoming space that kids who have lived difficult lives could really come home to.

“It will be luxury to them compared to where they have been. Many of our kids have lived in cars or out on the street.  Some of them have moved from foster home to foster home others have lived in very low economic areas so this is going to be something that they are not used to, living in something like this,” said Duane Lewis of Stepping Stones.

The setup, style and colors of the second apartment are totally different, but both rooms are designed with personal touches and messages of hope. ‘Believe,’ ‘do what you love,’ ‘dream big’ and ‘never ever quit’; words on every surface, meant to inspire those who live there, to leave the past behind and create a future they can be proud of.

“It’s going to mean something very special to the kids when they move in here,” said Lewis.

An independent designer judged the competition. A winner won't be announced until later this month.

For more information on Stepping Stone Housing for Homeless Teens, CLICK HERE.

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