A Lotta Love

What if children that find themselves in a shelter step into a home and not an institution, turning a feeling of despair into a feeling of a

Photo of Kristina Natt och Dag
8 2

Written by

Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

Lotta is a dynamic entrepreneur and mother of three with a great heart and a burning desire to change the world. An interior designer by trade, when Lotta was asked by an acquaintance if she would consider “coming down to the shelter and provide a few pillows”, Lotta stepped into what was to become her passion and which has since grown into a non-profit organization, A Lotta Love. As Lotta herself explains, there’s was infinitely more to do than just provide a few pillows. The environment that Lotta saw was an environment that only emphasized the dark sense of despair that must come with the need for seeking shelter in the first place. Enrolling friends and family, Lotta started with a women’s shelter in Chapel Hill, where they all saw the difference it made for the women and children who came there, and how several of them managed to turn their lives around through that experience. This cause has now grown onto more women’s shelter as well as a children’s shelter in Raleigh.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)

Website

http://alottalove.org

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • North Carolina

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Carrboro

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • North Carolina

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Chapel Hill, Wake Forrest, Raleigh

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Thousands of Wake County students go to school each day, uncertain about where they’ll be sleeping, that night or for the next few nights. In 2015, the number of homeless children was 2,736 students. The only homeless shelter in Wake County for children is the Wrenn House, the only homeless, runaway and crisis intervention program and shelter for children in the Triangle. It is run by Haven House, a NC non-profit established over 40 years ago. The house is worn down and gloomy, with bare and institutional-like bedrooms in spite of the ample research that shows the impact of the physical environment on children's learning and psychological development. The mission for A Lotta Love is to create a welcoming, safe and dignified space as they come to the Wrenn House scared and alone through which we believe we can address the psychological and emotional needs of each individual child.


A Lotta Love can adequately address the need to create an environment where children will feel important, safe and worthy. In the current state, many of the rooms are not up to standard. The bedrooms are impractical and dark with no room for storage. The carpeting is unclean and may further cause allergies/bedbugs. Bedding is old and worn and children are asked to make up their own bed. Other rooms, such as the "dining room" is a depressing room which functions as a library, class room, dining room and intake room. Some children are not able to make it to school. In those cases, interns are providing tutoring. However, there is no room where the children can receive proper tutoring. In light of the stress this child is already experiencing, care should be taken with regard to the tutoring environment. A Lotta Love have the knowledge and ability to address all the needs as listed above, putting the children at the forefront of the environment of the shelter, giving them a sense of dignity and hope.


Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Childcare

Year Founded

2014

Project Stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages, and has demonstrated success)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

Our plan is to redesign the 3 bedrooms with new paint, exchange the carpet to wood floors, new beds, bedside tables, lamps and storage. New bedding, textiles and art and other decorative things to create a feeling of a Home bedroom. We would redesign the current dining room with new paint and furnishings to provide them a space for homelike dinners together. We will use a current intern room and create a "Homework central" for the children who won't be able to go to school. Here they will be able to have proper tutoring and hopefully we can fund them to have the ability to use computers for their school work and leisure. Not only will these 100s of children a year feel better, they will sleep better and perform better in school.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We served 129 women and 43 children at Homestart (2015). This year we plan to serve the Wrenn Hous) (125 children/year) , Genesis Home and Families moving Forward (Serve 100 families per year and provided close to 15 000 shelter nights per year).

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We have no personnel or administrative costs. We do this to give back to our community and to be good role models to our children. Work and time is donated. The entire grant would go into cost for materials, furnishings, paint etc. We have a group of designers, sewing groups, painters etc. Some labor costs would be involved - mainly to exchange the existing carpet into hardwood. We use donated goods and services when possible.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

This problem is not really being addressed in most communities. In spite of what research shows in terms of the impact of the physical environment on psychological well-being and how we have seen how individuals gain a greater sense of hope through welcoming environments, most shelters are left with little or bare resources to address the physical environment. More often than not, creating a welcoming atmosphere through the physical environment is a priority while this is an easy way to provide a sense of home and safety instantly.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

A turning point in terms of dignity and a sense of worth. A place where a child feels welcome and safe, protected and cared for. A place where a child can regain belief in themselves and in the future. A place where a child can regain hope.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Email

8 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Christine
Team

What a great idea!  The beauty of our surroundings can have such an incredible impact on our psyche... I love this project of bringing color and balance and energy into these spaces of life transition.

Photo of Kristina Natt och Dag
Team

Christine, thank you so much! Your words captures the essence of what we try to do! It is is a life transition, and our goal is to build a bridge to a new life fro children who have had to seek shelter, where they feel seen and valued. Thank you again!!

View all comments