Nonprofit Room Redux gives trauma survivors a change of scenery

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Room Redux provides children that have been abused with a room makeover to create a sanctuary. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Susie Vybiral, CEO of Room Redux, founded the nonprofit in 2018. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
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A Room Redux volunteer paints the room of a victim of abuse. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
Children who experience abuse and other forms of trauma often receive critical counseling and support from social services but continue to live in environments tied to their past experiences, according to Susie Vybiral, founder and CEO of Room Redux.

Data from the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas states children are more likely to be abused by a family member or someone who they are familiar with, and 1 in 10 Texan children will be abused before turning 18.

“They’re in counseling, but very often they’re going back to a room where abuse occurred or there are triggers in the room,” Vybiral said.

Founded in 2018, Room Redux coordinates with caregivers, caseworkers, counselors and volunteers to transform the rooms of children who have endured trauma in order to create a safe space where they can heal.

The nonprofit has redesigned more than 20 rooms in New Braunfels and has eight chapters throughout the country.

Each chapter follows the same process, which begins with a referral from a counselor, caseworker, family member or other trusted adult.

The room transformation is a surprise to the child, and Room Redux staff and volunteers complete the project in one day.

Vybiral takes measurements of the room while the child is away, and parents or caregivers fill out a questionnaire about the child’s likes, dislikes and items he or she needs or wants.

“The morning of the transformation we show up [with a] truck and trailer full of their room transformation decor and furniture and get in there when the child’s not there,” Vybiral said. “It’s completely anonymous; they never see us.”

New furniture, decorations and paint are either donated or purchased through grants or donations, and every room design includes the child’s name to give him or her ownership.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Vybiral and her team had to postpone a transformation from March to May while they implemented measures to keep families and workers safe.

There were limits to how many volunteers could be inside the room at a time, and the room was sanitized when it was complete. Hand-washing stations were also provided.

Vybiral and other experts are also concerned that the school closures and social distancing requirements will cause increases in domestic violence and decreases in reports of abuse.

Room Redux plans to redesign more rooms with COVID-19 precautions in place, Vybiral said, and the nonprofit is currently accepting monetary and furniture donations for upcoming projects.

“We all have to really think and take more time to focus on children, to break the cycles ... of children feeling unworthy and then passing it on,” Vybiral said. “They deserve to know that they’re worthy and that they’re cared about by people they don’t even know and who expect nothing from them.”
By Lauren Canterberry
Lauren began covering New Braunfels for Community Impact Newspaper in 2019. Her reporting focuses on education, development, breaking news and community interest stories. Lauren is originally from South Carolina and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.


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