Teams compete to renovate apartments for homeless teens - - Jackson, MS


Teams compete to renovate apartments for homeless teens

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An extreme apartment makeover challenge for a good cause kicked off Sunday morning.

Two teams made up of Junior Service League members of Independence are working extremely hard this week to win the "Extreme Apartment Makeover: Steppingstone Edition." Steppingstone is a nonprofit organization which provides transitional housing to KC area teens who have become homeless.

"They contacted us out of the blue and it really was a blessing because they have so many resources as far as designing and remodeling an apartment and they know what girls like and appreciate," said Lynn Durbin, the director of Steppingstone.

"It's kind of top secret until the very end because it's a competition between the two teams that we have," said Cynthia Leutzinger, a Junior Service League leader.

It's a secret when it comes to the final design plans for two girls' apartments, but Durbin says it's no secret many kids come to them with nothing.

"It means everything because these kids, it's difficult for any young person to move into independent living as an adult," he said.

In addition to providing transitional housing, Steppingstone provides homeless teens with job training and life skills counseling.

"These kids don't have a safety net, so it's important they have support from the community and organizations," Durbin said.

"We hope to give them dreams and help them set goals and really move on in life and really be successful," Leutzinger said.

The winning design will judged by an interior designer and will be revealed Saturday, but the winner overall is clear.

"We're winning because we're giving to others, and Steppingstone is really going to be winning," Leutzinger said.

Homeless teens, ranging in age from 16-to-21, getting help at Steppingstone are sometimes aging out of foster homes and others are privately referred through churches and schools.

Steppingstone teens are in need of basic donations such as bedding, alarm clocks, school supplies and clothing. Go to for more information or if you'd like to learn how to help out.

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