Helen Lakeru

Renton, WA

"I am dedicated to helping traumatized children heal."

I founded and lead the Many Lights Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping traumatized children heal.

We are working on the development of a well-bonded, intentional multigenerational neighborhood called Hope Lights Community. The neighborhood supports these kids, their adoptive, relative and guardian families while purposefully engaging seniors as volunteer tutors and grandparents. This multigenerational community model champions a place where everyone contributes and everyone benefits.

Since the kids find their forever families, the cycle of instability ends, they are now free to grow and thrive in a safe environment and become productive members of our society.

After 36 years in the nursing profession, I knew I was meant to transition to something else. While attempting to figure out what that was, I became aware of a secret in my own family, that my mother and her siblings had come from a physically abusive home environment.

The more I studied, the more I learned about this global situation. I was compelled to do something that could effectively stop the cycle of abuse and neglect so prevalent in the lives of traumatized victims. I researched and discovered many good preventive and therapeutic programs.

Helen LakeruI found the multigenerational community to be a sensible comprehensive approach to helping children and adults while offering affordable housing, concrete support to kids and families and a place where seniors could make a difference and build their own community of support as they age. It was a win-win for everyone and I knew I needed to build it in the community where I lived.

Currently I lead a group of professionals and adoptive parents advocating for a comprehensive, centralized resource in our state that serves all adoptive families. This will be a one stop location where adoptive families access resource information and referrals to keep their families together and to get the help they need, such as respite services for adoptive families especially those raising children with physical, developmental, and behavioral disabilities.

Our multigenerational community will serve approximately 112 people in 12 four-bedroom family homes, 40 senior residences, a community center, library, community gardens and open space. These kids graduate high school at 100% success rate, they avoid homelessness and incarceration.

Seniors are the secret sauce that can change the world for the better. We’re a highly-skilled and wise, untapped resource with ample time to dedicate to leaving the world a better place.

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