Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, Mission Nonprofit host Robert Kam sat down with Tammy Levario, executive director of the BrenRose Foundation.
The BrenRose Foundation is a nonprofit that helps young adults who have experienced homelessness or spent time in the foster system. The Foundation’s vision is to, “build a community of supported housing that significantly reduces homelessness for those exiting foster care and the street. A community where our most vulnerable youths are given time and supportive space so they can recover from trauma and build healthy lives.”
Levario owns a large home in East Olympia that provides living spaces. “I rent to young adults who are aging out of foster care or homelessness,” she explains. “I live onsite as support and kind of the manager of the home and I just help them get connected to services, help them with life skills, help them with conflict resolution and just learning how to live in community in the home. I like to call it a soft place to land.”
The nonprofit works to help ease the stress they may be feeling about “what happens next” and provides support to help them work through the traumas they have experienced. “They often just need some time to rest and to be nurtured,” Levario explains, “and have some time to get their feet under them before they make a plan for the future.”
When they are ready, the BrenRose Foundation is there to help with the next steps. Whether that’s finishing high school, attending college or a trade school, or finding work.
Before starting the Foundation – named after her dear friend Brendalyn Rose – Levario had almost 35 years’ experience working with children and youth. The last 14 years she has worked solely with adolescents in foster care. Levario has been a caregiver to 40-50 teens in state care.
The BrenRose Foundation works under what Levario calls a “natural” structure, meaning there are no rigid steps or processes that each adult has to follow. Instead, she meets with them individually and works with them where they are at. “In all those years I got to see how much they struggled when they leave care,” she explains. “And all the systems that are in place, there’s…great agencies who are just doing everything they can trying to address this issue but it’s so large, it’s so big, and agencies have grown so large…that many fall through the cracks because, you know, there’s a standardized way of being that both in the state and with these large agencies and it’s not as individualized as I personal think it should be.”
You can help the BrenRose Foundation by donating through the website.
For more information, watch the full video above and visit the BrenRose Foundation website.
You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 77 on Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch on TCMedia.org, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thurston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.