Text by Julie Craven Wagner
After 25 years of transforming personal spaces for her clients in the greater Boston area, interior designer Caren Berry felt very strongly that she needed to give back to those who were less fortunate than herself, or her clients. “I have been so lucky to do what I do, for such lovely clients who trusted me to create imaginative, comfortable spaces in their homes,” Berry shares. “Achieving that success made me acutely aware of the reality many people who are dealing with day-to-day struggles have to live with. If I could help someone, particularly children, find some joy in their personal space, a place they could escape the difficulties of their life, I knew I could have a positive impact.” For Berry, she has learned there are fewer more personal spaces in the home than one’s bedroom, and in July 2021, she finally opened the doors of Colorful Kidz, a nonprofit which aims to provide a cosmetic makeover of a child’s bedroom.
“It started with a young girl who had just endured one in a long line of surgeries associated with Spina bifida,” Berry explains as she recounts the day she approached the mother and young girl who became her first beneficiary on a beach in Cotuit. In the following weeks, as Berry worked through her process of asking the child what they liked and what they needed, a transformed bedroom where medical supplies were discreetly stowed in new storage solutions, avoiding distraction or discomfort when friends came by to visit. A new quiet space was established where the young girl and her tutor could focus on tasks at hand. Other children who are in transition for a variety of reasons—domestic insecurity, fire destruction or other upheaval—are casually interviewed by Berry (not altogether a different approach she has used for decades as she uncovered her interior design clients’ preferences) to discover where their passions lie. “It is important that I make a connection with the kids to understand what makes them happy,” she shares, as she describes the inevitable reactions and glee that punctuate the final reveal.
The organization relies on community donations of furniture, fixtures, accessories, and a retail shop where furniture transformed by Berry with paint and panache is sold to generate much-needed funds. “We are also developing relationships with seniors who volunteer their talents for sewing or refinishing furniture; all tasks they can accomplish in their own home,” Berry says. Her business model relies heavily on a very grass-roots approach to connecting needs with resources; for example, Berry indicates that a utility trailer would greatly help with the pick-up and delivery she often accomplishes on her own.
To learn more visit colorfulkidz.org.
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