Susie Vybiral, founder of Room Redux, has made it her life’s mission to help children living with trauma feel at ease in their own spaces.
By Susie Vybiral
As someone who interned and worked as a family advocate at a children’s advocacy center, I was exposed to the horrifying stories and statistics surrounding child abuse and trauma. It was heartbreaking to hear parents share that, despite counseling, their children were still experiencing the effects of abuse in their own homes, even if that abuse occurred at a different location. This is why I believe that a child’s bedroom must be transformed into a safe haven in order to help facilitate healing, break the cycle of abuse and change the trajectory of their life.
After a long, hard day, we all need a place of respite, a sanctuary to call our own. Children who have been through abuse and trauma need this even more. The environment we live in plays a huge role in how we feel and function on a day-to-day basis. If a child’s bedroom is a place where triggers from abuse remain, it can hinder their healing and progress; therefore, it’s important to prioritize creating a safe and comforting space for them. We must remember that every child deserves a safe and nurturing home environment.
Abuse, in its many forms, is a global epidemic that prohibits children from feeling safe in their homes. In Texas, 98% of abuse cases involve someone the child and their family know, love and trust. The abuser is often a family member, which may result in abuse occurring in the child’s bedroom. Approximately 30% of child traffickers are related to the child.
Children who have faced sexual and/or physical abuse—which includes exploitation, trafficking and sextortion—deserve a safe and healing environment. That’s why we transform their rooms and their lives by including lighting, color, textures and psychological elements suggested by the child’s therapist or caseworker. Our mission is to help them heal anonymously and confidentially. Photos of room transformation recipients are never displayed; the during, before and after photos are only of the actual transformations. We want these deserving children to know they are loved and cared about by people who don’t know them and who expect nothing in return.
Children who have faced abuse in its myriad forms deserve a safe and secure space to call their own. Room transformations help children heal within their own space once abuse has been brought to light. We provide new decor, lighting and furniture, including a new bed with a new mattress. Every room transformation is tailored to each child, so we design rooms with information we have gathered from the child’s parent or caregiver. We also include their name somewhere in their room, so they know everything in their room belongs to them. Subtle changes such as rearranging the position of the bed and other furniture can provide a positive shift on how survivors feel in their room.
We obtain our referrals from counselors, psychologists, children’s advocacy centers, law enforcement, CPS and the FBI. We must know the child is in counseling or has been through counseling for the trauma, because therapy is a crucial part of the healing puzzle. This way, too, we can discuss with the child’s counselor which therapeutic tools they recommend we include in the child’s room. We have placed fidget toys, stress balls, art supplies, music, water features, meditation areas complete with bean bag chairs, pillows and soft blankets in children’s rooms. Room transformations, when coupled with therapy, serve as a holistic avenue for healing for child victims.
Redesigning your own room, as an adult, can be cathartic as well. Love purple? Paint your bedroom your favorite shade! Remember to include elements such as a comfy chair, soft rugs and cozy blankets that help calm you after a long, busy day. Create a sanctuary in your home for your own inner peace and tranquility.
Our organization has a saying: “We are Room Redux.” In fact, our hashtag is #weareroomredux. This means that if you have donated time, money, furniture or decor, volunteered, spread the word, shared on social media, partnered with us, then you are Room Redux.