ZUO Partners with designer Christopher Kennedy for LGBT Foster Care ~Sanctuary, Palm Springs
Founders of Sanctuary Palm Springs, David Rothmiller and LD Thompson refer to their ground-breaking, licensed project as “our three-year long overnight success”. Facing daunting obstacles, closed doors time and time again, and endless bureaucratic hurdles and delays, the pair’s determination to help brighten the lives of LGBT youth rejected by their families, finally won out.
Under the auspices of Transitional Housing Program Plus Foster Care, created by the CA state legislature to provide care for young people about to ‘age out’ of foster care, Sanctuary Palm Springs serves a population of 18-21 year old LGBT foster youth who desperately need support, safety and training to transition to adulthood.
With the success of the first Sanctuary house established, it was time to consider the second, and that was when renowned California designer, Christopher Kennedy of Palm Springs was approached by the dedicated team. Without hesitation, Christopher offered to donate the services of Christopher Kennedy, Inc. and began designing a bright, lively interior for the six-bedroom house.
"It is one of my core beliefs,” says Kennedy, “that our built environments have a great impact on our feelings, thoughts, words and actions. The young people whom Sanctuary helps have been thrown out of their homes by their parents, likely bounced around the foster care system, and surely been surrounded by (and wearing) hand-me-downs. How could you not feel like a cast-off yourself? I want these young people to be surrounded by an environment that was created especially for them, filled with new furnishings that were selected and donated with care and love. I want these kids to feel and know that they are valued and valuable, perhaps for the first time in their lives."
A “BEFORE” party was held at the house on Memorial Day, 2017 and guests were invited to tour the house and fund items Christopher had selected. Then the work began in earnest. Reconfiguring spaces to the new design, new flooring where necessary, plumbing, electrical work, painting, and the placement of orders for all the many items required to complete the house, from furniture to bedding. Original art by many collectors and artists was donated for all rooms, and volunteers from nearby Edwards Air Force Base donated their labor for whatever was necessary. In all, a remarkable collaboration by the many enthusiastic supporters of the project.
The “BIG REVEAL” party took place November 18, 2017 and the first residents will move in to this welcoming, warm and inviting home mid-December. The generosity of so many made this project possible. Companies such as Zuo Modern, Corian, Revivals, and others whose products are regularly used in projects by Christopher, gave generously, and trades people who regularly work with the design firm, donated their labor.
“Working with the Sanctuary Palm Springs founders and coordinator Ellen Wolf was a wonderful experience,” says Kennedy. “Their tireless optimism, and joy and belief in what they’re doing was inspiring. The generosity of their ‘Angels’, dedicated supporters of Sanctuary, was all important.”