Foster Care advocates are celebrating the grand opening of a group girls' home that's been years in the making. The Tulsa Girls Home in Sapulpa is now welcoming teenage girls.
"It's just not fair. No children should have to not have love in their home and not have a mom and not have a dad," said Brittany Stokes, CEO & Co-Founder. "We've got to do better. We've got to do better than giving the kids in foster care second best or third best."
Founder Brittany Stokes said when residents walk into the Tulsa Girls Home, they expect a facility. Instead, what they get is a home full of love, laughter, and peace.
"The first resident moved in, and she said, 'This place feels like peace.' She said it was the first place she had come to that she didn't feel like her chest was hurting," said Stokes. "We are opening doors that provide these girls a place where they will have dignity, love, healing and really be set up to succeed in life."
Stokes said we all want to belong but being placed into foster care does the opposite. "They have been pulled out of extreme abuse, extreme neglect," said Stokes.
"They've experienced a broken heart. Trauma. When they feel they're getting comfortable, they run. Just move from place to place to place," said Joye Schoats-Davis, Executive Director.
"At the other group home I worked at, anytime a child would age out or get fostered or adopted there was always another kid. We'd always get another kid right back in. And it's just so sad that there's almost seemingly an endless supply of kids out there without parents and homes," said Susie Quiroz, Residential Care Advocate.
The mission of the Tulsa Girls Home is for teens to be able to leave their shame and guilt at the door and feel loved no matter what their wounds look like. "This place is so full of peace, and it just feels like there's so much love here," said Quiroz.
"We welcome every girl who walks in here with no shame, with no guilt, and we just see them for who they are and that they are amazing young women who can be part of this community and who can change this community and who can heal and break generational cycles," said Stokes. "That was not their fault what happened to them and that was their circumstance, but they can have a different future."
"I think this is made out of love. This is just love and it's warming. We want to make it feel like a home and give these girls the things they've been missing out on," said Schoats-Davis. "I always tell them, be the author of your own story."
The Sapulpa Chamber of Commerce, DHS, police, and firefighters came to the ribbon cutting. "Many times, as firefighters we see the outcomes when it doesn't go right. Someone doesn't have the support, the safety. I think this place is gonna be a sanctuary for these kids," said Matt Lay, President Tulsa Firefighters.
There's a classroom, therapy dog, equine therapy, counseling, and opportunities for community engagement and developing life skills. "We are really committed to helping these girls get into the community. To learn how to order off of a menu. To go to nice restaurants and see what it's like. You know, to visit different cultures, and arts and museums and to really just be part of Tulsa," said Stokes.
"We set them up for success. We want to encourage them to go to school or get training. Some kind of vocational training. If they have dreams, passions, set up a plan for how to achieve those dreams. Help them get their driver's license. Help them be independent and successful adults," said Quiroz.
The Tulsa Girls Home works with DHS to place girls between the ages 14 to 18 who they think are the best fit for this environment. "I just feel like God has been consistently good to me in seemingly hopeless place in my life, and so I think it would be so selfish for me to not do the same for others," said Quiroz.
The home will eventually have up to seven girls. Click here to learn more about Tulsa Girls' Home.