WACO, Texas – According to Texas CASA, 20% of children in the United States who age out of the foster care system become homeless immediately. However, there is a new program called “Judy’s Helping Hands” that aims to change this statistic by providing transitional housing.
Angelika Medearis and Dorris Viewins, sisters and co-founders of the program, feel like working on this project is a dream come true.
“It’s amazing to see it come to life,” said Viewins.
The inspiration for the program came from their late grandmother, Judy, who the transitional home is named after. Judy Washington, who was adopted as a child, had a desire to open a home for women aging out of the foster care system before she passed away in 2011.
“We just wanted to carry on her legacy of helping others because she was the type of person who never wanted to see anyone hungry or homeless,” Viewins explained.
Starting in August, seven women between the ages of 17 and 24 who are aging out of foster care will live in the home located at 1226 North 18th Street. Each resident will have their own bed, a lockable space, and a personal vanity. They can stay in the home for a duration of six to eight months.
“We are aiming to help those who are homeless, couch-surfing, and trying to rescue girls from sex trafficking,” Medearis said.
The mission of Judy’s Helping Hands is to provide the women with the necessary tools to transition into independence.
“We have set up a library with a variety of books,” Medearis shared. “The women will be able to study here, whether it’s for their GED, college exams, college resumes, or job applications.”
While the co-founders work on making the home visually appealing, their ultimate goal is to make the future residents feel beautiful.
“We want each one of them to feel special and loved, to learn how to love themselves, and to understand that they are the most beautiful individuals in the world,” Medearis emphasized.
KWTX previously reported on Medearis in February when she and her husband transformed a convenience store into the “Church of Life Ministries.”
An anonymous donor provided the Judy’s Helping Hands house, and the renovations have been funded through donations from Church of Life members. However, Meaderis and her sister still require assistance to complete the project, and contributions can be made on their GoFundMe page.