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
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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)



Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • North Carolina

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]


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


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

Evaluation results

15 evaluations so far

1. Relevance: Does this project seem to help children (ages 0 to 12 years) develop a strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose?

5 - Yes, this is great! The project lays out a strong, compelling case for how its model nurtures children’s wellbeing. - 64.3%

4 - It seems like a good fit, and the model talks explicitly about children’s wellbeing. - 21.4%

3 - I think so. The project seems related to children’s wellbeing, but the logic is vague. - 14.3%

2 - Not sure. The project doesn’t have much to do with wellbeing, or it doesn’t give enough information. - 0%

1 - Nope, this project definitely doesn’t fit the challenge brief (e.g., It doesn’t help kids younger than 12, isn’t in the U.S., etc.) - 0%

2. Innovation: Does this project tackle children’s wellbeing from a new angle?

5 - I loved this! The project describes a novel model that addresses important cultural or systemic barriers. - 21.4%

4 - This is pretty cool. The project is addressing an important problem in a new or compelling way. - 21.4%

3 - I feel like there’s something there, but I want more details about what makes it distinctive. - 35.7%

2 - It’s a good project, but I’ve seen others like it before. - 21.4%

1 - It was confusing or hard to tell what it made it different. - 0%

3. Social Impact: What is this project’s potential for creating positive social impact?

5 - Lots of potential. This project is achieving impressive results, and it’s growing quickly. It could absolutely inspire changes in the ways we approach caring for kids nationally, across sectors (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 28.6%

4 - Pretty good potential. This project demonstrates significant positive impact so far, and it could scale regionally or nationally one day and fundamentally change how a system operates (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 28.6%

3 - Budding potential. This project is creating local impact, but it would take a few adjustments before it could scale. - 35.7%

2 - Some potential. This project demonstrates some initial positive impact, but it would require major changes before it could scale. - 7.1%

1 - Limited potential. This project has great intentions, but it looks like it does not include key drivers of a shift towards children’s wellbeing. - 0%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 28.6%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 21.4%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 42.9%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 7.1%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 0%

5. Offer some feedback. Where should this participant spend some time revising?

DEFINING THE PROBLEM. Make sure to articulate the root causes or main barriers of the social issue your project addresses. (Founding Story, Problem, Solution). - 25%

CLARITY OF MODEL. Make sure to mention (a.) the beneficiary, b) the main activities, and c) how those activities drive social impact. Keep it streamlined! - 37.5%

MARKETPLACE. Make sure to research other players in this space and articulate how this project is different. I didn’t get a complete sense of how this project compares to others. - 50%

IMPACT POTENTIAL. Make sure to use specific numbers to describe what your project has achieved so far! And consider how you might scale the model or its insights, through partnerships, trainings, or franchising. - 100%

WRITING STYLE. Try to stay concise and make it vivid. Avoid jargon. - 12.5%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 37.5%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Christine Mason

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

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!!

Photo of Emma Morris

This project made me smile! I think this is such a great way to increase the sense of belonging and individuality that is essential to growing up. 

Photo of Kristina Natt och Dag

Emma, you are so right! And we see that with out own eyes! I hope you had a chance to look at the video, I think hearing from who we try to help directly tells us how important this is! Thank you again for your encouraging words and for your smile!

Photo of Trish Dewald

I love this kind of project.  I spent 4 years working in a homeless shelter in Detroit and making the space feel more like "home" really does make a difference.  In my work here, I have had the opportunity to connect with Humble Designs.  They work to repurpose donated goods and do whole home/apartment furnishing for families that have moved out of shelters and into permanent or transitional housing.  Have a look at their work.  http://www.humbledesign.org/

Photo of Kristina Natt och Dag

Trish, thank you so much! Isn't it amazing what the impact is? What seems like nothing can light a fire of hope for people of a fresh start, a sense of dignity and value. Love is truly all.
Thank you for sharing, we will definitely look into connecting with them!

Photo of Judy

What a great idea for helping children in very stressful situations feel more valued.  Best of luck in your ongoing efforts.

Photo of Kristina Natt och Dag

Thank you so much for your encouraging words! We believe we have a found a much overlooked opportunity to communicate with these children that they are loved as they are and deserve a home like all children. Thank you so much again!