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California Closets: Designing better lives for foster youth

Designing better lives isn’t a credo California Closets reserves only for its customers. For two decades the company has also sought to do its part to help design better lives for community members in need, partnering with organizations including Dress for Success, Soles4Souls, Habitat for Humanity and many others.

Recently, the Orange County franchise team saw an opportunity to lend its expertise to help refresh the headquarters of the Orangewood Foundation, one of the leading providers of services to current and former foster youth in the area. Orangewood helps almost 2,000 foster and community youth annually prepare for independent adulthood. In California the need is great — 50,000 youth are in the foster care system, with 2,600 in Orange County alone.  Sadly, many are victims of abuse, abandonment, neglect and sex trafficking.

The mission of the Orangewood Foundation is to help prepare foster and community youth to achieve their greatest potential both in the foster care system and as they transition into the community as young adults. It does this by providing health and wellness programs, housing, education and life skills services to current and former foster youth. Without support from organizations like Orangewood, former foster youth can face very uncertain futures. Fifty percent of former foster youth drop out of high school, experience housing instability and have annual income less than $6K. In addition, they are twice as likely as their peers to develop mental health problems or alcoholism.

While visiting Orangewood, the California Closets team identified several storage needs. The facility needed an area to house clothing items, much of which is donated by local beach and surf wear makers. It was also in need of a retail-style space to display the items.

Over a two-day period, the team completely renovated Orangewood’s existing – and very cluttered – storage area maximizing functional space by installing custom shelving. This makes it easy for Orangewood staff to know exactly what they have in inventory at all times, and what items need to be replenished. The team also created a retail area where those in need of clothing assistance can “shop” and select items all free of charge.

“Being involved in the Orangewood Foundation project was very fulfilling. Our team did an amazing job installing our product, and the associates at Orangewood could not have been more pleased,” said Design Manager Jen Pearson. “This endeavor embodies the vision behind our credo, which allows a world where people are free to focus on what matters most. Helping those in need and discovering beauty within themselves through simply finding the right outfit in a well-organized space brings our credo to life.”

 

From left: Yovanni Perez, installer, Jen Pearson, design manager and Apprentice Installer Bruce Gloriani

 

 

Storage area “before”

 

 

Storage area “after”

 

From left, Installers Juan “JJ” Jimenez and Jose Mayorga

Retail area “before”

Retail area “after”

 

Orangewood Foundation Manager, Corporate Relations  Juliet Patino  praised the team for their hard work, saying, “We cannot thank California Closets enough. We are elated over here. The team who came today was amazing and so professional. I’ve attached a few pictures, but they do not do the finished product justice.”

Looking at the before and after pictures, it’s easy to see why the Orangewood Foundation was pleased with the end result.

 

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