Josie’s Home: a unique nonprofit
By Jill Alexander
What do older dogs, senior citizens and aged-out foster youth have in common? Katy Goshtasbi, a Scripps Ranch resident and founder of Puris Consulting, believes there is quite a bit.
Goshtasbi started the nonprofit organization Josie’s Home hoping to unite older dogs, senior citizens and foster kids who have aged out of the foster care system at 18 years old.
The goal is to bring together these three segments of the population to support one another by driving awareness and educating residents on the joys of “age and aging,” and what it says about society when we discard a being as no longer being relevant or useful to us, Goshtasbi said.
A former lawyer, she is married to Dr. Ramin Goshtasbi, owner of Oasis Dental Arts, also in Scripps Ranch, who was instrumental in coming up with the idea a decade ago with Katy. After much self-reflection and recovery, Katy decided to turn the idea into reality.
“We officially started in March 2022 after my recovering from breast cancer and my mastectomy,” she said. “I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself and I heard a voice in my head say, ‘If you focus outward, you would be better off. Stop focusing on yourself and help other people.’ And I was like, okay.”
Katy said when people get older, when dogs get older, and when foster kids reach 18, they are just not wanted, and this is what the three have in common: age.
Katy said more people have become supportive of the nonprofit.
“I’ve met some of these foster kids over the years through my charitable work, like one who was living out of a car but went on to Harvard. They have potential like seniors have potential, as do old dogs. We just need to support them all to recognize their potential, and hopefully teach by example how we can all be supported,” she said.
Katy stressed that the non-profit is not just a placement service and is being built in phases, with the first being about awareness, the second pairing up, and the third building centers.
“The ultimate and last phase is to have centers all over the country where the animals, foster kids and seniors can come in or live and visit to connect and support one another,” she said.
Her research has shown that seniors who want to contribute to the cause don’t necessarily need a place to live, and she isn’t trying to turn the non-profit into a “retirement facility,” she said.
“The overall idea is to see what foster kids need help with like how to apply to a college, buy a car, get a loan, and match them up with a senior citizen who might be able to offer their wisdom,” she said. “Senior citizens have so much to give as well as their literal day-to-day know-how, so it would be trying to match up foster youths and seniors based on need and how they may support one another.”
Don’t forget about those senior dogs.
“Old dogs are also discarded and when I learned about the beauty of old dogs and took in some of my own, it rocked my world,” she said. “They fit into this puzzle because they are gentle, graceful and have the wisdom to nurture, too.”
She and her husband will continue to fund the nonprofit and hope to add volunteers and a board of directors.
Visit josieshome.org; and @josies.home on Instagram.