ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL)- In 30 days, the Tri-Cities community raised $75,000 for a local organization to help kids entering the foster care system.
The Isaiah 117 House will be a place for kids to immediately come after they are taken in to state custody while they are waiting for their foster family.
Founder Ronda Paulson said she hopes this will be a place for the kids to be welcomed and accepted, instead of sitting in an office building for hours. Right now the first place the kids go after being taken from their home is the Department of Children’s Services offices, and sometimes they have to wait there for hours, in some cases, overnight.
Paulson said she has realized through this process, the kids sometimes can feel as if they’ve done something wrong.
“You’re being removed from your home and you don’t really understand exactly why, and you’re not allowed to bring any of your stuff and you don’t understand exactly why, and you’re taken to an office and surrounded by people that you do not know. I feel like the underlying message is ‘I’m in trouble,’ almost like you’re sitting outside the principal’s office,” Paulson said.
She said she hopes to change that message by welcoming them in to a warm, loving environment.
“Isaiah 117 House wants to send a message to these children that they have done nothing wrong, that this is happening to them, not because of them,” Paulson said.
Now they have the house, but Paulson said there are still plenty of things to be done before opening its doors.
“We’re really looking for monthly supporters, people that are going to come alongside and say we want to help you pay your light bill every month, we want to help you stock the kitchen every month for these children for healthy snacks, those kinds of things,” Paulson said.
She said they also need contractors, people to help paint, clean, and a variety of other things. Paulson said she has already seen the community step up in a huge way to help these kids in our region.
“People want to help these children and so to continue to see the good in this community its just refreshing right now to see all the goodness and to see their excitement over finally purchasing this home.”” Paulson said.
Paulson said they hope to start training volunteers to welcome the kids in to the house early next spring.
You can visit www.isaiah117house.com to find out how you can help.
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