Meet Lauren Tebbe, founder of Restore and Renew, a nonprofit organization providing weighted blankets for stress relief to local children as well as children globally. She saw a need while serving internationally and is using her gifts to help create a world where no one has to feel alone.
What led you to start Restore and Renew, and why weighted blankets?
The idea for Restore&Renew started when I was on a mission trip to Monterrey, MX aiding to the orphans there. These children were all pretty traumatized and something that really gave them comfort were these weighted blankets. They send the same message to the brain as a nice hug would, comforting and calming them. I just felt God tugging on my heart to explore this idea for other causes as well, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, Autism, and insomnia. I myself have anxiety so I know first hand the struggles that can come along with it and the sense of loneliness that occurs and is so hard to battle. I made one for myself and was overjoyed with the sense of calm I experienced for the first time in a while, I knew I had to spread this joy to others!
Your blankets are currently available at no cost to those who need them. What is your hope in offering them at no cost?
Many parents who have children with these struggles have enough medical bills to pay and the thought of buying a blanket that could cost up to $250 is not always on their radar. I also know that when experiencing anxiety or any of these challenges, you can start to feel like a burden and no one should feel that way. Money should never get in the way of joy and we want these people to know that they are loved and cared for by us at Restore&Renew and by God as well, hence our moto "building a world where no one feels alone." 1Peter 5:7 says to "Cast all your anxieties on Him because He truly cares." God does truly care and I see Restore&Renew as His hands and feet of being able to show this to these families.
What has starting a non-profit taught you about yourself and serving others?
Starting this nonprofit has taught me to never doubt myself. I started this nonprofit when I was only 19 years old and everyone thought I was crazy adding a business into the mix of anxiety and college life, but I really felt like this was God's calling and He never fails! There has been so many times I question if this was the right idea, and He comes in proving it with His love and encouragement every time! Serving others gives such a humbling gratitude. There are people out there that God leads you to for a reason, so seize the moment and serve them!
What are three dreams you have for Restore & Renew?
I'd love for Restore&Renew to be able to go out into the community more. Right now I make the blankets and ship them off, but I'd love to be able to see the blankets in action. I got to have that experience with our first blanket and it was incredible! I'd also love to have an office space for Restore&Renew where people can come in to a welcoming environment and feel loved while getting their blanket personalized for them. Lastly, I'd love to give back to the orphans in Mexico who sparked this idea and being able to provide needs to them as well.
Establishing a non-profit is no easy task. What advice do you have for someone who has an idea and is ready to get started?
Don't let anyone talk you down! If you have the courageous step to start a nonprofit, I believe it is God acting on your heart and trust that He will provide. Give it all to Him, that is definitely a key lesson I have learned from the process of starting a nonprofit!
CONNECT WITH LAUREN: