Space Of Her Own (Renovated)

I recently shared with you (here) about a fantastic organization that I've been involved with this year, and I've had a few requests for an update.  Space of Her Own (SOHO) is a creative mentorship program for 5th grade "at risk" boys and girls in the Arlington/Alexandria/DC area.  They are currently seeking mentors for this upcoming school year, so visit their website to donate or learn more!  There might also be a video up of our renovation day! 

This fall I was paired with my amazing "mentee," and throughout the entire year we have been working together each week on creative art projects.  All of the art projects (including our awesome pink chair) were saved throughout the year, to be used by the mentor (me) to renovate the mentee's room at the end of the school year.

In addition to the art projects, we were given a small stipend, but I REALLY wanted my little mentee to have a fantastic room with her very own desk and many many books!  Because of this, I asked my friends and family if they would like to donate a favorite middle school book of theirs from back in the day, and  was soon absolutely blown away by their generosity.  They gave amazing books, furniture, and room decor!  Nearly every time the mail came, I cried.  I was able to to get both her and her brother new bedding, a desk, freshly painted walls, shelves, a new dresser,  organizational bins, art, curtains, and was able to fill her room with so many books!

The impending renovation day was my obsession for several weeks. I spent hours plotting every square inch. The renovation day was set up like the old show "trading spaces." Two renovations were scheduled to take place at the same time.  My mentee went with another mentor, and her mentee came to help me and my renovation team (aka my husband).   So my mentee didn't see her room until it was totally done... Except for the wall color, which was done the week prior with my fantastic friend.  She's the kind of person who hires people to paint her own house because she hates it so much, but then when a friend asks, "Hey will you help me paint an extremely hot room this weekend, for like several hours?"  She says "Yes!" in a heartbeat.  I've met some good people here. 

Speaking of good people. 

My gracious husband and I arrived first thing in the morning with a broken drill, and a tiny toolset that he has had for longer than we've been together (8 years).  His assigned tasks involved assembling furniture and hanging shelves on walls.  He whipped together the desk and new dresser with ease, but then came the part where he had to attempt to put up shelving on a wall with only a screwdriver.... not soon after did he make a break for the hardware store to buy a new drill.... and then we learned that the wall was actually concrete about an inch in...  Whoops!  They turned out cute though, right?  So here's the day in picture form: 

Prep Work

Putting It Together

Finished Product

The BIG Reveal

Favorite Purchases

Urban Outfitters Firefly String Lights-   The strings are wire. My plan was to twist them to spell a work, but then time ran out. 

Target's Plain  8x10 Wooden Frames ($7)  + Sample Size Paint at Home Depot ($3)

Hanging Butterfly Pinterest Inspiration:  Scrapbook paper + twine + a shelf (or a rod) + Scrapbook stamp

Metallic Gold Spray Paint:  For Everything. 

Cat Night Light (Target)- $14

Cat Bookend Set (Target)

Don't hesitate to inquire more specifically about any other items used! 


It is really difficult to put into words how much this experience has impacted me.  I do not yet have children of my own, and have been in awe of the transformation my mentee has made in a single year.  She has grown so much more confident and outspoken, which is fantastic because she has so many amazing insights to share.  I'm so proud of her.  In all honesty however, there is a major possibility that I've benefited from this far more than she has.  It has definitely inspired me to seek out additional and varied volunteer opportunities.  Volunteering is like the ultimate win-win scenario.  It betters the world in some small way (or large way), and also makes you feel better for doing something good for others.  It's just all around a really great thing to do.   The video from this year just came out, check out the room renovation reveals below!

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