Chicago Charity Stores it Forward
What comes to mind when you think of a happy child? Some would think of treats and sweets. The best toys. What do you remember as a child? The adventures you had while on the local jungle gym, or the joy on your birthday of receiving that gift you wanted so badly. But what else do you remember? How about going to soccer practice? The feeling of winning your first game? Sitting with friends in the cafeteria at school, or diving into your favorite subject in class?
For many of us, these memories are taken for granted. The mundane events of our day-to-day lives as a child have given way for the things that we deem important, but for so many children who are battling terminal or life-threatening illnesses, peace and comfort seem out of reach.
Special Spaces is trying to change that. Their mission is to provide a place that inspires hope and imagination for children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. They create dream bedrooms for kids who deserve a chance at happiness.
“We know that Children with a life-threatening illness are spending a lot of time in their rooms, yet their rooms now resemble hospital rooms with all their equipment and medicines. They are in pain and sick and If you ask them, they will say they are tired of being sick and sad and stuck in their rooms,” says Kelly Knox, area director for Illinois, including Special Spaces Chicagoland, a chapter of Special Spaces that StorageMart’s Store it Forward donates space to.
Dream Bedrooms for Kids
Special Spaces meets with the child and their family to design and create their wildest dreams – Star Wars room, Lego room, butterfly room, whatever their imagination can think of, the Special Spaces team of contractors, designers, crafters and volunteers transform the bedroom in one day. The end of the day is a celebration with the family and team. Special Spaces is one of the more unique charities for children that does more than simple monetary donations.
Special Spaces has 28 chapters nationwide and has completed over 800 dream room makeovers. The Chicago chapter started more than 5 years ago and is working on completing its 100th room makeover. The Chicagoland chapter has been hugely successful, so much so that they cannot keep up with the abundance of donated furniture. Knox writes,
“We slowly filled my garage, and then a basement and then started bleeding over into other volunteer’s homes and knew we had to make a change. We contacted Storage Mart and shared our mission and our need and within a week I got the most glorious phone call from Jamie Varvaro, a key player at StorageMart. Jamie told me about the Store It Forward campaign and how he thought Special Spaces was a good fit. I remember the tears I cried when we were selected not only because I knew we would be able to help so many more kids but also selfishly because I was going to get my garage back!”
Special Spaces Chicago land is a unique and inspirational organization. They create memories and restore happiness to children who are fighting battles that many of us can’t imagine. StorageMart is proud to sponsor Special Spaces through the Store it Forward program. If you’d like to get involved, you can visit the Special Spaces donation page.