A SENSE OF HOME (ASOH) is a relatively new LA-based nonprofit organization that has enjoyed immense success very quickly with a holistic approach to transform the lives of foster youth who “age out” of the system. ASOH is a community based solution, designed for replication across the country. The all-star former foster youth staff have helped design the systems and how the process might best empower their peers.
ASOH brings together volunteers to serve as a family would — utilizing donated furniture to make the youth’s first permanent living space beautiful — giving them dignity, self-worth & pride.
Think of it like a good, old-fashioned barn-raising, where the community all pitches in to benefit one of its members (or families). Or think of it like a family helping its adult child strike out on their own for the first time.
A resourceful former foster youth may secure Section 8 Housing but with no family or community to help them set up their first home, their apartments are empty of furniture and basic necessities most people take for granted. These transitioning youth sleep, eat, study on bare floors and store their clothing in plastic garbage bags.
Having already endured lives of emotional and/or physical trauma, these young people are now left with no sense of security. They’re left to fend for themselves, with no semblance of a foundation on which to build from and move forward, let alone thrive.
In the process, the ASOH community acts as extended family to the transitioning youth, providing practical and emotional support, and, when possible, professional connections, they might not otherwise have.
Each youth is encouraged to pay it forward partaking as a team member creating another youth’s home. The more the youth pays it forward the more they become immersed in community, learning from healthy role models who can vouch for their work ethic and open up career opportunities.
ASOH builds an organic community apparatus for former foster youth to step into, be a part of, become invested in, and learn from. It is a safe space for them to live in the real world and understand how to show up as a community member and have a voice for themselves and others.
A Sense of Home currently has two of its own generously-donated trucks for collecting and delivering furniture and housewares. We also have a generously-donated warehouse space in Carson where, with the help of volunteers, we sort and store donations prior to their placement in homes. This warehouse is also where our former foster youth staff and volunteers “stage” furniture, homewares and art — before the items are loaded on the truck.