One day in December 2012, Broward County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Edward Ragauskas went to Detective Lisa Sokol for help. He had found Joy Stewart living in a home with no heat, running water, electricity or food with her four grandchildren.
Detective Sokol and Deputy Ragauskas put out a call for help to their fellow Broward County Sherriff’s Deputies and the word quickly spread. Food, clothes and toys were donated; money was collected to turn utilities back on. National stores such as Wal-Mart, Brand Smart and Home Depot donated things like a water heater, refrigerator, food, clothes and toys. A very Merry Christmas for sure; however the state of the home the family was living in was not fit for habitation and as the holiday spirit of charity started to dwindle, the good deputies of the BSO were at a loss what to do next.
Rebuilding Together Broward County stepped in and with them they brought the producers of the locally produced national hit home improvement show Designing Spaces™, airing on Lifetime. After taking one look at the state of Stewart’s family dwelling, the Dream Team at Designing Spaces decided to tackle the single largest makeover they have to date. With the help of Rebuilding Together, the Broward County Sherriff’s Office and the local emergency shelter Kids In Distress, where Joy’s grandchildren had been housed until she was able to bring them home, Designing Spaces rebuilt and furnished the entire house room by room.
With help from national sponsers like Tuesday Morning, the teams worked for 2 weeks and ended up with amazing results! The live reveal was Thursday February 14th and got the attention of local papers, news crews and then The Huffington Post Miami!
What started off as a sad story ended on a happy note of love by showing the magic that can occur when a community comes together and helps to create Joy.