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Healing Childhood Trauma, One Room at a Time w/ Susie Vybiral

What do you do when you see the effects of child abuse destroying families and communities? How do you stop the cycle of abuse? How can you help impact a child's life for the better? For Susie Vybiral, the answer was clear - change their environment to help them heal and to break the cycle of abuse.

Susie Vybiral is the Founder and CEO of Room Redux, an international nonprofit organization. Room Redux transforms the rooms and lives of children who have faced physical and/or sexual abuse. This is done anonymously and in one day. Room Transformations give children a fresh start while changing the trajectory of their lives and breaking the cycles of abuse.

Susie is currently a doctoral candidate and will obtain her PsyD in 2023.

Susie is a contributing writer for San Antonio Woman Magazine and The Circle Magazine and has served as a guest speaker for NCMEC, child protective service organizations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI), Homeland Security (HSI), and law enforcement and taskforce conferences.

These positions and experiences are all powerful forces when it comes to Susie’s expertise regarding

Room Transformations = Life Transformations.

More on Susie's organization here:

Vote for Susie in L'Oreal's "Women of Worth" here:

YouTube link to this episode:

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*This podcast contains colorful language that some of our listeners might consider NSFW...even when working from home.

MPM 60 Room Redux

Susie Vybiral

[00:00:00] When, a lot of times when I speak to people, I tell them I'll point out into a crowd of people and I'll say to put it into perspective, these statistics, 1, 2, 3, her 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, him and it's people go, Whoa, it's that prevalent. Huh? So I think it's really just a hard thing to hear. We, we don't want to think that people are harming.

Every single day, all the time, everywhere. [00:00:30] But it's absolutely true. And so also when these adults grow up after being abused as children and they don't wanna talk about it, a lot of it has to do with everything that happened when they were children and the way their brains were developed. It, it stunts the growth of the hippocampus of the amygdala, the, the way they experience feelings and the way they express feelings, so everything gets very distorted.[00:01:00]

Testimony continued. Today in the most notorious criminal trial in Richland County history. Dr. John Boyle is accused of killing his wife Noreen and burying her body in the basement of his new home in Erie, Pennsylvania. The 12 year old son finally took the stand as I heard a scream. I heard a thud was about this loud.

We the jury, find the defendant guilty. When I was 12 years old, my testimony sent my father to prison for murdering my. This podcast serves as a type of therapy and reconciliation for myself, [00:01:30] and it is my hope that it helps anyone who has experienced deception, betrayal, and dark trauma. I'm Collier Landry, and this is Moving Past Murder.

Hey movers. Welcome back to another episode of Moving Past Murder. I'm your host, Collier Landry, and what's going on? What's going on people? Happy Friday. Another episode in the books. Hey. Fall is upon [00:02:00] us. And look, I am like the endless summer type guy. I mean, I think you get it with the long hair. I live by the beach, right?

Ah, but the sun is setting earlier. It makes me so sad. But it does mean that this time of year brings about one of the coolest hs, I think Halloween and the time for ghouls and goblins and scary things and trick-or-treating and candy and playing dress up and all that fun stuff. Now I don't usually dress.

But, um, and I'm not going to, by the way, , [00:02:30] but Oh, actually I do. I have a costume contest. Thing in a few days. On my Patreon, I do a live meet and read every month. And this month we are doing a costume contest and we'll see who wins. It'll be really fun. But if you're not on my Patreon, check it out. your Landry. But, uh, every Halloween they have Halloween Horrors here in Los Angeles at the Universal Studios Lot, and I got to go this year. I mean, I haven't been in probably. Five, six years. But I got to go this year [00:03:00] because my dear friend and co-host of Survivor Squad Terror Nuell got tickets and we got the v i p front of the line passes and uh, we got to see everything go through all the haunted houses.

They had like a, a weekend, uh, you know, if you guys let know the, the artist the weekend, he has like his own haunted house there. There was the Halloween exhibit. We went to the terror tram, all this like cool stuff. It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun. Man, the place was packed. And, um, I [00:03:30] like, I don't know how people do it.

It it, that's, I mean, some of those lines were like 150 minutes long. If we didn't have the front of the line passes, I don't know what I would've done. I would've gone crazy. But thinking to my dear friend Tara, Renewal for hooking that up and for Universal Studios for hooking us up with those tickets.

You guys are awesome. I wanna get to this week's list or comment of the week. This one comes from Amy Trull. And she writes on my episode, which is called Surviving Narcissism and a [00:04:00] Murder in Mansfield. When I talk to the psychologist who was in my film murder in Mansfield, we discuss my father and sociopathy and narcissism.

So Amy Trull on YouTube writes fantastic episode. I learned a lot that will help me deal with my narcissistic family, and it gave me a new way to think about forgive. Look, I do this program for a lot of reasons, but probably the most important reason is for me to share my experiences [00:04:30] and hope to make like this little bit of difference in your world, right?

And to connect with you guys and to get you guys thinking and talking about things like. Trauma and survivors and, and knowing that you're not alone in this world when you go through all these challenging circumstances and look, your circumstances don't have to be like mine. Mine are so extreme, and I always say this to people whether I'm coaching them or I'm just like giving an interview or whatever it is, right?

I always [00:05:00] say like, your experience is unique to you, right? And it doesn't just because my story is so extreme, doesn't. Yours a a, any less impactful to who you are and what you've been through. I'm just sort of the exception to the rule and not the norm. Right? That said, me being able to share my experiences with you guys in this way, where you actually are listening to the material and going, Hey, you know what?

I really need to deal with these things with my family. I really need to explore forgiveness. I need to [00:05:30] explore all these things that have been holding me back. That makes me feel so good to make that impact. So I just wanna say thank you. Thank you to Amy for reaching out and saying that comment makes me feel really good.

Like what I'm doing is all worth it in the end. Making the impact that I hope that it has on you guys. And speaking of making an impact. So my guest today saw something in the world that she wanted to change, and that was the [00:06:00] physical and sexual abuse of children. And she decided like, how can I make an impact on their world, on the world as a whole to make things better and to just participate in the smallest.

To make such a big impact and what she is doing with her non-profit. It just, some of the stuff that she's doing just really resonates with me and I know it would've resonated with my mother too. So I'm pleased to welcome to the program Susie Vbr.[00:06:30]

I'm Susie Vbr and I'm the CEO and founder of Room Redux, and we transform the rooms and lives of children who have faced sexual and physical. We do this anonymously, so the children never see us and we do this in one day. I mean, there's so, there's so many questions I have for you. I think the, the first one would be is why, How did you get into this work?

I've always had a passion, a desire to help children, really to help [00:07:00] the innocent, so animals, the elderly children. And I was a family advocate at a children's advocacy center for a little while. And every day I would hear the horrific stories of what's happening to children out there. Unfathomable things at the hands of adults.

And I would hear these caregivers and these parents say she's in counseling, that's going great, but she's not sleeping in her room. She hasn't slept in her room in five years, or [00:07:30] he doesn't wanna go in his room, he doesn't wanna have friends over. He's afraid to sleep in his room. He's uncomfortable. And so it seemed like a natural.

thing to transform their rooms. They're going back to this room where abuse occurred or maybe it didn't. Maybe there are triggers in the room or maybe it happened somewhere else, Grandpa's house or a hotel. But they still deserve to know that they're loved and cared about by people who don't even know them and who expect nothing from them.

And that's how I got. [00:08:00] So when you were working at this children's center, you, you, you just, I mean, it's just an unfortunate thing. I, because of my story, a lot of people reach out to me and obviously they thank God . Most of them don't have a parent that was murdered by another parent. But they are often, more often than not survivors of, of domestic violence, sexual assault, and mostly as at the hand of.

Parental figure or a, an adult figure in their [00:08:30] life and it's really, really tragic statistically. So you're based in Texas, correct? Yes. New Braunfels, Texas. It's right between San Antonio and Austin. And do you, do most of your cases, most of the rooms and the cases that you're working on, are they located in.

Not anymore. We started out here, you know, doing room transformations here. We did two room transformations in 20 17, 3 in 2018. 13 and [00:09:00] 2019 all in Texas. And then boom, we started to explode like wildfire and started opening up chapters across the us And so now we're up to, I believe, after yesterday where we had two room transformations.

Here in Texas, I think we're up to seven, 170. Room transformations and that's a across the country. So we've had room transformations in Denver, Colorado, Northern Michigan, Willamette Valley, Oregon, Sacramento, California, Bay Area, [00:09:30] California, Atlanta, Georgia, Shreveport, Boer City, St. Louis. So all over, all over the US and we filed in the uk we're about to file in Ireland, Israel, and the Philippines.

So the goal is to help every. In every city, every state, every country, because the statistics are staggering. I mean, it's just, it's absolutely unreal that one in 10 children are going to be sexually abused before the age of 18. That actually sounds like a conservative [00:10:00] asset of it to me. One in 10. Oh, it is.

It is. I mean, we say one in four girls, one in six boys, but that's just what's reported. Not all children make an outc. . Why? Why do you think that is? Is that just because they don't feel the adults could believe them? Or what in your, what, in your opinion, is the cause of that? I think that's, that's what it is sometimes, but also these perpetrators against these children [00:10:30] are threatening them.

They tell them, Don't you tell, don't tell, or you're gonna get in trouble. Or it's going to disrupt the whole entire family. And that frightens children. They, as badly as they want abuse to stop, they don't want to have this happen to them. They, they don't want their whole world to change. Children like routine.

They, they know what, they know, they, they're comfortable in that. And even if it's scary, they still, they don't want to completely rip apart their whole family. And so it's fear. A [00:11:00] lot of it's just fear and, and. Two, a lot of them feel guilty. Well, I guess it's me. I brought that on. Uh, I, I'm a bad person.

Guilt, shame, all of that gets rolled up in there and they, you know, I think oftentimes the, not like when I speak to these adults who have become, you know, adult survivors that are still living with this trauma, they. [00:11:30] often still in that cycle of shame, self blame, you know, and then sometimes engage in practices of self harm, whether that is cutting, whether that is substance abuse, whether that is, you know, repeating the cycle of abuse in adulthood, where getting with a partner that abuses them physically, mentally, sexually exploits them.

Uh, you know, it, it [00:12:00] really becomes an epidemic at that point. It absolutely does. And for, for children who grow up to be adults and have never told, that's something that then they feel like, Well, I, I, I can't tell now. I don't wanna speak up now. Or they do, like you said, they feel that guilt and the shame for all of that, and they don't want anyone to know, so they sometimes never speak up.

I've spoken at places where people have come up to me afterward and. I've never told anybody, but it happened to me. I was [00:12:30] sexually abused when I was little. I was speaking at a networking event one time and a 70 year old woman who ran this networking, networking group. After I sat down, she stood up there and she just kind of walked around and she said I was sexually abused at the age of five years old, and then I was raped when I was in college, and I've never told a soul, not even my husband of 55.

So just hearing what I told her and that what's happening with these [00:13:00] children, I feel like she felt brave enough to say it out loud and that, oh, it does happen to other people. It's not just her. It was powerful. I mean, yeah, it's, it's powerful and heartbreaking at the same time. It is. Do you, for me, why do you think people are.

to discuss these, these narratives and these situations. Why do you think it has to get to [00:13:30] a certain point where it is just like it can't hold back any anymore? Why do you think that there's not more of a conversation about this and, and this country and across the world? Because, you know, not only, I mean, we live in the United States, but not only do we have issues with, you know, this here, but it's also, it is across the world and in some cultures it's even.

a lot of ways, which is very unfortunate. Why, why, why do you think that, that, that we're afraid to really talk [00:14:00] about it or is so taboo to discuss this? I feel like the word is coming out a little bit more nowadays. There's been a lot of focus, a lot of attention on trafficking, human trafficking, child exploitation, child sex abuse material.

People are starting to become more aware of that, but it's such a hard thing to, to listen to. It's such a a hard thing. , wrap your head around. I mean, for, for me personally, when I hear these horrific stories and I'm telling you it's, [00:14:30] they're horrible, these things that are happening, it's almost like there's a wall, so my mind doesn't, can't go into it.

I know that it's happening to children and I know what the facts are, but it's so incredibly hard to grasp and when a lot of times when I speak to people, I tell them, I'll point out. A crowd of people, and I'll say to put it into perspective, these statistics, 1, 2, 3, her 1, 2, 3, 4, [00:15:00] 5, him, and it's people go, Whoa, it's that prevalent, huh?

So I think it's really just a hard thing to hear. We, we don't wanna think that people are harming children every single day, all the time, everywhere, . But it's absolutely true. And so also, when these adults grow, after being abused as children and they don't wanna talk about it. A lot of it has to do with everything that happened when they were children and the way their brains were developed.

It, it, it [00:15:30] stunts the growth of the hippocampus of the, the amygdala, the, the way they experience feelings and the way they express feelings. So everything gets very distorted. That's a very. Poignant moment that you just described when you were standing on a stage and you just go 1, 2, 3, you, 1, 2, 3, you, I mean, that really, that really puts us in perspective in so many ways.[00:16:00]

Yeah. It's like I, I think we've, we've developed this sort of culture where if we just sweep these things under the, They're going to just go away. Right? If we don't deal with it, if we hide our eyes for, It's like peekaboo, right? . If you're, you're hiding your eyes, then oh, nobody's gonna see Right? Not happening.

And it's, it.

Have there been? [00:16:30] Why, why don't you, why don't you tell us about some of you know, The stories that have really touched you, that you guys have really seen yourselves. I mean, well actually describe to me what you do. Like what is the process of this? How does this happen? How do you select the children? How do you select the families?

How, how do you do your background on them to, to verify stories or to like, how does that all work? Explain to me that process. [00:17:00] So really the only prerequisites are that the child has. Sexual or physical abuse, and they're in counseling and that's important because they have to be getting that part of the healing puzzle before we come in and change their environment.

They have to be getting that part. So you, so you wanna make sure that they're in therapy and, Oh, yes. And then do you have, do you work with like cps? Yep. We get our referrals from cps, law enforcement counselors, psychologists. Uh, we're [00:17:30] a referral source for the fbi, homeland security. That way we know that the perpetrator has been caught and is out of the picture, that that's imperative.

We, people often ask, Well, you go back into the house where, where they've lived and where it happened. Isn't the perpetrator there? Absolutely not. That's why we go through those agencies to make sure that the child is now safe and on that road to. Step. Step one is, is no more per, per has to be put away or out of the picture.

Got it. [00:18:00] Absolutely. I mean, hopefully in prison doesn't always happen, but that's always my hope. Yeah, exactly. But, but definitely out of the picture. That way the child can focus on, on moving forward. But once we get a referral, then we make contact with the parent or the caregiver and we set a date to go assess the room when the child's not there cuz they never see us and we'll go.

There's always two of us just, you know, to make sure, and it makes it easier. But we'll measure the walls, the windows, the doors. We take [00:18:30] pictures of everything. Um, we find out, I have a questionnaire. What is her favorite color? What colors does she hate? What does he wanna be when he grows up? What's her favorite animal?

What would they like in the room? lately, I feel like we're putting a lot of mini fridges in rooms, which is super fun. Kinda makes me want one my own , but you know, a game system or a television, things like that. And then we leave and we get to work. So when I do room transformations, I get this design in my head.

I can just see [00:19:00] how the room should be, how it's gonna look. And it's interesting too, because we can talk to the counselors and find out what kind of therapeutic tools do you suggest fidget toys. Uh, meditation area. Maybe it's music or uh, diffuser or squishies, things like that. Punching bag. We put a punching bag in a girl's room one time, which is awesome,

So we get that design together and then we name the room transformation cuz we don't wanna sling children's names around. So we do lots of fun [00:19:30] room transformation names. And then once we do that, we get the design together, we'll do an Amazon smile wishlist and put it out there. People can shop for this room transformation or we go purchase things or people donate.

We get a lot of, we get paint donated and flooring, all kinds of fun stuff. And we set a date to go transform the room when the child's not there, They're either at school or we'll send them somewhere fun for the day and we show up usually 8:00 AM [00:20:00] with a bunch of volunteers who all have background checks cuz we're going into the home of a vulnerable, you know, child.

And we take everything out of the. Now I will say that I have, We find out first, what can we take out of the room? What do you wanna stay in the room? What do you want to stay in the house? Usually they say, Take everything. Just take it away, don't want any of it. And then we get to work. We transform. I mean, we had two room transformations yesterday in a facility.

We're doing a collaboration [00:20:30] with an organization. It's a reunification type process where they can go back into the home. It turned out beautifully. Just, I mean, we had a muralist, we did murals, and uh, but oftentimes we'll go in and put down new flooring, paint new light fixtures, new bedding, always a new bed because we never know, you know, what happened in the room, for sure.

Sure, sure. And, um, we'll do safety stuff too. So one time I know that we had, it was an eight year old girl [00:21:00] and she had been sexually abused by her brother in her bedroom. And so we wanted to make sure there were no spaces. Where anyone can hide. I mean, he's outta the picture. He's in jail, but still, you know, we want her to feel safe.

So we, the closet door, we changed it to a glass closet door, so it's not, you can't hide in there. You can still see in there. Yeah. Things like that. Shades, window coverings, all very important. Cuz sometimes children feel, they feel very vulnerable, you know, the [00:21:30] windows exposed like that. we're very detailed and every single room is very, very tailored to each child.

No cookie cutter. It sounds like it. . It totally sounds like it. Yeah. You want one, don't you? I know you do call your I Well, to be quite honest with you, I mean, I did not live, I did not live in the house where my mother was murdered and Right. The, But I could imagine if that had happened or if I had to stay there, then yeah, I would've, Something like that would've brought me a lot of Sola.[00:22:00]

Well you say that, but it makes me wonder too, when you were in your room and you heard the footsteps and you talk about the Batman clock, is that a trigger for you at all? Batman, or thinking about that clock or clock is actually sitting under my desk as we speak. Um, Wow. And I have this little Batman figurine.

Next to me. Uh, you know, I've never really talked about it much on my program, but I do want to do a whole episode about , my, my, uh, sort of, [00:22:30] uh, correlation with Batman , I suppose my direct correlation. But yeah, I think that like, when I think of even that morning, You know, waking up at, at three in the morning to the sound of the scream and the thuds, you know, hearing the thuds, then the footsteps, and looking at the things.

I mean, that's, that's burned into my mind, right? What, you know, the clock on the wall, the mural that was on my wall of me in a little sailboat. Um, the [00:23:00] carpet, the corner of my bed, my dresser. Like, I can see all those things still in my. To this moment that we're talking. And I think that, yeah, I, I mean, I don't know if those would be considered triggering for me, but it is a memory that I, that I, that I can't shake, if that makes sense.

I can't, And I think that for me, like when I relate to what you're doing or I relate to, um, I [00:23:30] relate to what was happening. It, it, I relate, I relate to what has happened with these children. Even though I was not a victim of sexual abuse, I, you know, I understand and, and I think that's why so many people reach out to me because of this program who do have a history of the, of sexual trauma and, and domestic violence because, and I saw domestic violence growing up.

My father was very violent with myself and my mother, but you know, If I had to live back in [00:24:00] the place where all of it occurred, I don't know how I would've handled it. I mean, even, I just recently went back home to Mansfield, Ohio and I actually toured through the home, uh, just to do some TikTok videos.

And I, it, it's, it's wild because you're looking at it and you know, I, I do this in the film of murder in Mansfield, but I walk, you know, I'm walking through the house and I'm just looking at it from an adult perspective and it's. Like when I see everything looks so [00:24:30] small and I know that probably is obvious cuz you're an adult , but everything seems so much bigger as a child than it wa is as an adult.

And I think that having this, um, this, uh, these memories in. In my head of what was happening. You know, I'll never shake that, Right. But I can see how, if I was, I mean, I got my own room transformation. I was [00:25:00] yanked out of my house, I was thrown into foster care, and then I was in a room there, and then I was finally adopted, you know, a year later.

And I lived in a new room then. And so I had my own sort of room redux, if you will. But I think that if, if I, if something like that had occurred, , I was able to maybe have that go through that process where it's like a clean slate because I never, even though I had it in that sort of way, I, I feel like a, a total clean slate is, is really the first step [00:25:30] to the first step on the path to healing for a child.

Absolutely. And that's why I really dig and it's perspective. Yeah. And that's why I really dig what you guys are doing. So you've talked us sort of through the process and we talk. Tell me about some some success stories. There are so many. They're so awesome. We get That's wonderful. . . I can fill it. Four hours of podcast.

We just get the best. Feedback. It's so awesome. And not even [00:26:00] just what the child says or what their reaction is, but even the parent or the caregiver, they feel like they have an advocate. They feel like, Oh, I have support. It's, it's not just me out there losing my mind over what's going on with my child.

Like there's somebody I, I can talk to or I can reach out to, because we don't just transform the room and then see it, you know, we, we contact them, we stay in contact. Um, sometimes forever. I mean, we've, but there's still people that I talk to that we [00:26:30] transform their rooms in 2019 and they still donate.

Like they, they now donate to room transformations. We've had former recipients come out as they've gotten older with their mom come out and help transform a room. So that's huge that, that the parents and caregivers can feel like, Oh, I'm giving back also, they did this for my child and now I can help other.

I love that part. I think that's huge. And it, and even volunteers when they come, a lot of times I hear, [00:27:00] you know, it happened to me and that's why I wanna be here and I can help in this way. I mean, a lot of people don't come to room transformations because it happened to them and they're not ready for that.

And that's fun. They then they donate or they, um, they post on social media for us, things like that. So it's interesting how everybody can help in any type of way and. I, I dig what you do, but we say we are room redux cuz it takes everybody. So if you've donated time, money, [00:27:30] furniture, volunteered, post on social media, Thought about us, done a podcast, then you are room redux by the way.

just so you know. That's very cool. Uh, so yeah, there was a room that we did for a 14 year old boy a few years ago, and. He, it was him and his mom who lived in his home, and neither of them really had much self worth or confidence. Didn't take a whole lot of pride in their home or [00:28:00] themselves, essentially.

And it was, it was not a hoarder type situation. Really good mom. It was just more, there's a lot of stuff everywhere, uh, to where you had to really take big steps to step over things. And so we transformed his room. It was called Safety Zone, and he liked football. The. , University of Texas, Longhorns. He liked Dallas Cowboys.

So we made the coolest room ever for him. And the, apparently the next [00:28:30] day he asked his mom if he could stay home from school and she said, No, you can't stay home from school just to enjoy your new room. And he said, No, mom, I feel so good in my room. I wanna help you clean the whole house. We've got to organize.

Yes. And so the CPS case worker, she called me two weeks later. She said, Susie, I went and did a home visit and it gives me chills saying it. I don't know why I still get chills, but, and I, that's so wonderful. I can walk through the house. It is [00:29:00] clean, It's, everything's picked up, Things are organized. And then six months later, that mom called me and said, Hi, I have this big chair that I would really like to donate.

That's huge. I know. And so I went and got it and it's not something we would use in a room transformation. It, you know, I took it to Goodwill, but the whole point was she felt so good to give back and so I got it. And thank her. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Just really neat. But we hear all the time too, stories about [00:29:30] children who absolutely do not sleep in their room, their rooms.

Yeah, just a mess. And I mean, above and beyond a teenage room, You know what they normally fight? Sure, of course. Just they don't wanna be in there. And uh, yeah. The feedback we get is she won't even come out of her room now. It's the nicest room in the house. We all go in there . Oh, that's really wonderful.

Yeah. Just wonderful things. And you mentioned cutting earlier. There's a child who we did a room transformation for, and she [00:30:00] actually wasn't there that weekend because she was. A, a hospital because she had tried to cut, she was cutting herself and now she is so healed and that fresh start just turned her life around.

She now mentors children who are going through the same kind of thing. Like she tells them, You don't need to cut. Like, let's, let's change the position of your bed, or let's, let's do this, and just Amazing. That's so great. Yeah. It's so great. You know, one of the things that [00:30:30] I've often argued. Uh, argued, but, but really just said that I, I think, is a necessary process of tra trauma healing, and maybe you agree with this is, you know, I, I did a TED Talk and I talked about like, when you look at trauma, you're trying to.

understand why, right? And instead of looking at why, because that looks in the past, what now is like an action and it leads you to the present, right? It looks to the future, really. And [00:31:00] do you feel that, that when these, that that's what you guys are doing in. Like you're saying, we're not gonna look into the past.

This is the future. And when you have these volunteers that come in that have had similar experiences to these child, to these children, when you have a volunteer that comes in that has a similar experience to these children, that that's what they're doing. They're using their trauma and they're leading themselves through it by saying, Okay, what now?

What are we gonna do together to [00:31:30] heal and to move past this? Absolutely. It's so cathartic. It can be so cathartic for volunteers, for people who, who, who do this, you know, it's almost as if they are tending to their inner child or their, their small selves back then, kind of in a way. . Yeah. Not getting stuck in the past.

I, I like to say we're on the happy side of the trauma. You know, we're, It's the, I like that. Yeah. It's like that. It's the end of the abuse and it's the road to healing and [00:32:00] they're working things out and counseling, but then to be able to transform the lens through which they're looking at the world essentially, because these children, then they come to know, The world's not always such a scary place.

They're not always people who want to hurt you or do bad things to you or to your family, things like that. Some people care about you and you know, don't, Don't require a thank you or don't require anything from you. Expect nothing from you that I [00:32:30] think that's huge. And these room transformations what they do too sometimes, because parents will say they.

What do I tell her? Like what do I even tell him when he gets home? And I say, You say whatever. Say whatever you want. Whatever you want. Cuz we split before they get home. They're not gonna see us. So you can say you did it, you can say you got friends to do it. , you know, sometimes it can you have, Do you have parents that take or or caregivers that take credit

Yes, absolutely. [00:33:00] Imagine this. Imagine there's a 14 year old girl and her perpetrator, uh, was her mom's boyfriend. Right? So she may feel like Mom didn't protect her, or Why'd you let this happen to me? There can be some animosity right there. Yeah. So that knowing that mom loves you and did this for you, that can help repair a relationship.

Yeah. You know, repair the damage. Yeah. Or if a child has been put in a kinship type placement, maybe they've been placed with grandma or a family [00:33:30] cousin and they have other children, they may not feel like they belong. I mean, I'm, I'm sure you have bought that. Yeah. What is a, for those that don't know, like what is a kinship?

Well, it's just when they're placed with kin, uh, a family member or a friend of the family so that they are not put into foster care right away. Um, you. or if it, it might even be temporary while a parent's trying to get their stuff together before Got it. They can come back, but [00:34:00] if they go into a house and there are other children, they, they feel like, Do I even belong here?

Do they want me here? We always put children's names in their rooms so they know, because we've had children walk in and pick up things, you know, like, This is mine. These, these things are mine. Aw, yeah. Over your names in there. So it, it, it can help them feel. More at home and loved and cared about and like they belong, they should be there.

That's a really cool way to [00:34:30] handle it and it's, and it's great that you guys can just, you know, it's not an ego thing, it's a, it's a, we are doing this and you guys take the credit and you guys show it and Exactly. You know, I think, yeah, there's a lot of these kids that, you know, they blame their, their parent or their guardian for not protecting them and offering that parent or guardian a chance to have a fresh start.

With that child to show, Hey, you know, I [00:35:00] did this for you, or I did it, or, Or I got people to do it, me and my friends to it, or whatever that looks like. Right. It's a really amazing moment where you can sort of speed up the healing of that family. I mean, that's really cool. I love it so much. We had a room transformation, actually it was three room transformations in one home for six children.

Six and seven year old in one room. Boy and girl, by the way, Batman in Unicorns. That was fun. Uh, 12 and 13 year old girl. And then [00:35:30] mom was pregnant. She had her baby two days after the room transformations, by the way. And she had a three year old. And so. Six kids. We did flooring, paint, everything. And we actually, that weekend we sent them to a, a local resort just so they could go and have a good time and be away.

Yeah. Just, you know, go and have a good time. And it was the mom, the grandma, and then the kids, and the, the grandma, when she got back, she told me what she told them. And she said, [00:36:00] Remember when we didn't take you to McDonald's, we couldn't afford to take you to McDonald's. It's because we were saving up so that we could do all this for.

Isn't that cool? That's like wonderful. I know, I, I'm just surprised. I mean, are there other people that do this? No . I know everyone says everyone, counselors, uh, FBI people. Like, it's just like such a no brainer. It just seems like a such a no brainer. , [00:36:30] like, Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. And it's, And you guys get corporate sponsors, I'm assuming, right?

Or you're probably on your way to getting, you know, like a Home Depot or a Lowe's or a home repair. So it's some place they could, you know, Paint and flooring and, and you know, that would be awesome. I'm always working on that. Always work at mattresses. We would love to have someone donate all the mattresses cuz we always put new mattresses, so.

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. They're expensive. They are. What does it cost to transfer a [00:37:00] room on average Around, I would say between 2000 to 2,500. Which is really nothing when you're talking about, That's not that bad. No. It's a simple way to help a child, you know? And it's so tangible too. I think that's why everybody loves it, because we love befores and afters.

Hair. Yeah. Makeup, all the things. But to see a room, there's a, there. How many, How many reality shows have been. That've been developed around, Huh? I did it. I was a director of photography on a pool show and we would [00:37:30] remake the pools and everybody loved watching. I mean, that, you know, it's great. It was a great moment for the family and you know, they get a really nice pool at the end.

But this is something that has like a message. Exactly. It's, it's wild that you. It's a great idea. So, you know, when we, when we had met, we spoke about some things that you were doing, you were being honored for some work that you were doing. You're, you've made a list of some sort you were telling me about.

You wanna talk a little bit about that and what you're doing? Absolutely. So I was nominated for this wonderful [00:38:00] award award, the L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Award, and I'm talking 5,000 submissions across America and I am one of 10 honorees, which is huge. He, It's amazing. It's amazing. Yes. They gave us a grant, uh, for room redux, and they're doing an HBO Max special, which is coming out really soon.

And so we're, we're gonna be out there all over the place, but there's voting November 1st through 30 if you can vote every single day. I implore [00:38:30] everyone I know to every single day for me. So, I'll win. And then we get another big grant, $25,000 grant for room redux. And not to mention the exposure and all those wonderful things, but it's so exciting.

I mean, when I was in LA and when we filmed the two days prior, that's what I was doing filming for L'Oreal Paris. That's amazing. I mean, it's so cool. It's, you know, often we see in this, in our, you know, society, people that are rewarded for not doing great things, . [00:39:00] Yeah. They're just rewarded. And it's nice to see people that are doing great things, making a difference and making a difference in the lives of children who have been victimized and traumatized and, and helping them take that first step towards healing.

I mean, as someone who. As a survivor, it wa it was a victim, survivor, and, and went through horrific circumstances that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. [00:39:30] I commend you for what you guys are doing. It's a really wonderful program. Um, we will add, uh, all this links to the show notes of today's episode for you to follow.

Susie follow room Reds, uh, a link to her L'Oreal. Campaign that they are doing and, uh, and ways to get in touch and donate to her non-profit room. Reds good. Susie, um, thank you so much for being on the program. It's been wonderful and it's really amazing how you're helping [00:40:00] children just move past their trauma.

Thank you, Collier. We need to get a chapter out in la. You need to come help. That'd be fun. Absolutely. You can tell him that. . Thank you. You know, we hear a lot of stories of just doom and gloom and sadness and just sorrow and ugh, going through such traumatic circumstances. And just to see somebody like Susie, with all her positivity and her energy out there in the world making a [00:40:30] difference in the smallest way.

Right? And you wouldn't think that just changing a child's room would change their life, but it really does. I think about, you know, just like I said in the. If I was a kid and I had to go back into the hole where my mother was murdered, right? That would retraumatize me. And being able, you know, even though kids are really resilient, being able to give that child a fresh start with a new outlook and a new room, and a new toys, and just a new experience also with, with [00:41:00] these mental health tools, you know, placed in the room to help them deal with their trauma.

I mean, it's. Incredible. I can't believe that no one's done this before. And I'm sure there probably are organizations out there. I don't know of any, I think what Room Reds and what Susie and her team are doing, it's absolutely incredible. And I know 100% that my mother would've been like, Where do I volunteer and where are you gonna volunteer to call her?

It's just a great thing to see, you know, uh, just giving these kids [00:41:30] hope. You know, just letting them know that people are there for them and, and care about them and love them, that they don't even know strangers. It's, it makes a huge impact on their lives. So, um, I am, I was, I'm very fortunate to have Susie on the program.

I wish her all the best with her competition with L'Oreal Women of Worth and, uh, with Room Redux, uh, I'm gonna be involved in the organization as well, so I'm pretty excited about that as well. So, uh, that'll be really, And, um, you [00:42:00] guys have a great weekend and you know, just try to be that change in your world if you can.

And if not, it's cool too. So on that note, I'm Collier Landry and this is moving past. Thanks y'all.

This podcast is made possible by support from listeners just like you. Please subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify audible. Find us on YouTube, [00:42:30] landry.

The film A Murder in Mansfield is available on investigation Discovery. Every plus an Amazon Prime video.

This podcast is a production of Don't Touch My Radio in association with RSA Entertainment. Please visit mpm to show your support today.[00:43:00]

I'm Collier Landry, and this is moving past murder. Thanks, y'all.

This podcast is made possible by support from listeners just like you. Please subscribe via Apple [00:56:30] Podcast, Spotify audible. Find us on YouTube,

The film a Murder in Mansfield is available on Investigation Discovery. Discovery plus. Amazon Prime Video.

This podcast is a production of Don't Touch My Radio in association with RSA Entertainment. [00:57:00] Please visit to show your support today.

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