Helping Children in San Luis Obispo / by Anne Bussone

   Susie de Groot hugs Xander, who lives at the de Groot Nursing Home for Children, operated by     Susie's mother    —Sjany de Groot.

Susie de Groot hugs Xander, who lives at the de Groot Nursing Home for Children, operated by Susie's mother—Sjany de Groot.

Reiss Design Studio, in a volunteer partnership with the IAFF Local 3523 (San Luis Obispo City Firefighters’ Union), recently prepared architecture plans to retrofit a bathroom for handicap accessibility at a home for terminally ill children in San Luis Obispo. Sjany De Groot opened her home as the “De Groot Nursing Home for Children” in 1980. Sjany and her late husband, Rokus, both originally from the Netherlands, fulfilled a promise she made to herself to care for medically fragile children, after surviving the Nazi occupation and witnessing the Nazi infanticide campaign. Over the past 36 years, many wonderful children have been under her care.

Members of the Firefighters’ Local 3523 will provide the labor. The firefighters’ union reached out to Reiss Design Studio in part because of RDS's ongoing Change the World program that dedicates 10% of staff’s weekly hours to help others. 

The bathroom retrofit includes installing a wider-than-standard countertop, large sink for bathing, accessible toilet and grab bars, and new tile/paint/mirror/cabinetry. One of the children, a young teenager named Xander, has a disability that precludes him from growing, walking, and developing other life-dependent motor skills, including bathing by himself. The new bathroom design will enable caregivers to safely care for Xander.  

Thank you, Sjany, for your years of service to the children. Construction is expected to be completed within 90 days of an authorization to proceed, pending funding. At the time of this writing $3,570 has been raised out of the budgeted $5,000 needed for supplies. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/24s9shw for more information about the project and how to donate.