A few summers ago, Champaign resident and entrepreneur Jenette Jurczyk was asked on multiple occasions if she would donate extra children’s clothing to a friend of a friend who was caring for a new foster child and urgently needed some clothing and supplies. Jenette stopped and asked herself, “Where is the resource in our community that is dedicated to providing these urgent care items for new foster parents?”
In response to that question, Jenette and a few friends gathered to research local entities serving the foster care system and determined that for this to be a sustainable resource, they needed to create a new nonprofit organization. The Family Room was born from that effort.
Founded in 2020, The Family Room is a small but mighty nonprofit with a mission to bring joy and comfort to children and families navigating the foster care system. The Family Room provides care packs, clean clothing and other necessities to children in transitional or temporary home situations. Foster parents and short-term guardians often have little to no notice that a child is being placed with them, so The Family Room bridges this gap with supplies and empowers these individuals to be the best caregivers possible.
The Family Room joined the Community Solutions Incubator at the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois in 2020. As a new nonprofit, founder Jenette states, “We didn’t know what we didn’t know. It has been helpful to be part of the Community Solutions Incubator to learn the ins and outs of starting a new organization, share ideas and learn from seasoned professionals.”
The Family Room hopes to share some awareness about their mission during the upcoming holiday season and encourages people to donate to their efforts on Giving Tuesday. They are excited to partner with the First Christian Church for their Foster Appreciation event in December. On December 5 at 7pm, Jenette will be a featured panelist, along with other Community Solutions Incubator participants, at the Champaign Public Library’s So You Want to Start a Nonprofit panel discussion. Next May, The Family Room will promote National Foster Care Awareness Month with their Little Blue House Campaign.
Interested in getting involved with The Family Room? Here are ways you can support their efforts:
- Sign up to be a volunteer through their web site at: https://thefamilyroomcu.org/get-involved/
- Express your interest in joining their Board of Directors in January 2023 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donate to The Family Room on Giving Tuesday, or any day!
- Organizations that wish to partner with The Family Room to run a donation drive or fundraiser on their behalf can contact them here