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Wednesday, Apr 6, 2016

Hofstra students partner with Berkshire Foster Care for painting project

After our Long Island foster care team moved to a new office, the sterile white walls needed some love. Recently, the student-run Hofstra chapter of Together We Rise contacted our office to volunteer for a service project. With a lot of planning and communicating between Foster Care Clinical Coordinator Bettina Yanez and Erica Sattler, student and President of Together We Rise at Hofstra, the painting project was born.

“Bettina and I brainstormed projects we could do, and she mentioned the move to the new office,” said Sattler. “I suggested that we decorate the playroom and therapy room so that the kids were more comfortable when they visited the office.”

Comfort in colors image

Eight students arrived to breathe life into the walls of the office, supplying their own brushes, paint, and music. They transformed the playroom with an “Under the Sea” theme, using cool blues and vibrant orange and green. The students chose a soft yellow to provide a feeling of comfort for children visiting the therapy room.

"The kids love the rooms now, especially our kids with special needs—they're mesmerized by the colors," said Yanez.
Students enjoyed the day of painting and getting to know the foster care team.

“We put on some music while we painted, and Berkshire staff would encourage us, which was really cool,” said Sattler. “We were really happy with the way the mural came out.”

Everyone involved in the project was excited to take part, Berkshire staff and Hofstra students alike. Working with Together We Rise is always a special experience, because members are often personally connected to foster care in some way. For student leader Erica Sattler, foster care is close to her heart.

“My mom adopted three foster siblings who are now my siblings,” said Sattler. “I saw them in the loving environment that was my house and our family—I saw how great they became, how they grew into successful adults. I know that’s not always the case for some kids, so I want to make a difference for those kids, and give back the way my mom did.”  

Just the beginning

Students in Together We Rise at Hofstra are looking forward to engaging in new projects with Berkshire and hope the relationship continues to grow.

“I hope that we can continue to work with Berkshire in more ways,” said Sattler. “We’ve been talking about coming to the next foster parent training and helping to occupy the kids with crafts. We love making a difference, even if it’s just doing little things like crafts with the kids. It’s so important.” 

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