Many foster youths bounce from home to home and lack the love and attention that all kids deserve. These nonprofits help you to provide support for them.
When Rob Scheer entered the foster care system, he walked into a house full of strangers carrying all his belongings in a tattered trash bag. Thirty-two years later, four foster children arrived on his own doorstep clutching garbage bags holding all their belongings. Rob couldn’t believe that after thirty years, foster kids were still carrying their lives in trash bags. To remedy the situation, he founded Comfort Cases. The nonprofit supplies foster youths with duffel bags and backpacks containing a pair of pajamas, a blanket, a stuffed animal, a toiletry set, a book and a coloring book or journal. A $10 donation to Comfort Cases pays for one of the duffel bags. Donors can purchase backpacks and the items that are packed in them through the nonprofit’s Amazon wish list. Needed items start at $6. (By the way, those four kids are now Rob’s adopted kids.)
Joseph Rivers had lived in a group home for his entire childhood and knew how difficult it was to turn eighteen and enter the world of adulthood with no caring support system. So, in 1981 he founded Foster Care to Success, which matches volunteer mentors with foster youths in college. Mentors make a one-year commitment to communicating at least once a week via phone, text, email or social media. FC2S estimates the time investment at one to three hours a week. Mentors must be twenty-five or older, participate in online training and attend monthly instructional conference calls.
In addition to mentoring, college scholarships and other services, FC2S provides care packages that include cards, cookies, booklets about succeeding in college and gift cards three times a year for foster youths in college. Its Valentine’s care package includes a red scarf that volunteers knit or crochet. “It’s so critical for the students to know someone cares,” Executive Director Eileen McCaffrey says. “We get calls and emails from students all the time about how much the care packages mean to them.” A donation of $250 covers the cost of three care packages.
Danielle Gletow started One Simple Wish after she and her husband became foster parents and realized that many children in foster care didn’t have access to things other kids might take for granted, like birthday and holiday gifts, sneakers and school supplies. Donors can browse and fulfill wishes for these items. Wishes are compiled by social workers and other professionals who work with the children. One Simple Wish reached more than twenty thousand children last year. You can fulfill a wish through the website or contribute toward a wish with a donation as low as $1 through the Facebook page. www.onesimplewish.org