Foster Care Alumni

The Teen Toolbox 2013 Accomplishments & Achievements

Posted by on January 1, 2014 at 5:00 am

Hello 2014!  I welcome you with open arms…Packaged for Success and prepared for an extraordinary year!

Here is a look back at 2013 with The Teen Toolbox!


SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month

  • Manuella
  • Nick
  • Leroy
  • Tony
  • Jahlika
  • Jordan
  • Amber



  • National Executive Youth Leadership Summit
  • On Purpose Networking for Women
  • 33nd Annual MARFY Conference
  • Imagine Foundations at Leeland Public Charter School
  • The Youth Empowerment Telesummit
  • Trinity Washington University
  • Challengers Independent Living Program
  • Glory Soldiers Global



  • Maryland Association of Resources for Families & Youth
  • Coalition of Adoption Programs, Inc.
  • The Maids of Maryland
  • Glory Soldiers Global
  • National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Prince George’s County Maryland Chapter
  • Watkins Hornets Youth Association
  • Prince George’s Community College student organizations


Supporting Our Community/Exploring Our World

  • 2nd Annual Pack A Backpack Drive
  • 7th Annual Pack A Purse Drive

No New Year’s Resolution Here

Posted by on December 27, 2013 at 11:23 am

Reflection = a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration


I am in 2013 total reflection mode right now and of course, planning and building go hand in hand with reflection.  There will be no New Year’s Resolutions Here! My theme and goal for 2014 is to escape my personal and professional comfort zone, however. New actions, projects and opportunities coming soon!!!

How will you usher in the new year? Will you do anything differently in 2014?

leave comfort zone in 2014


Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox utilizes youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic empowerment strategies to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs. We are committed to supporting and raising awareness about the needs and potential of teenagers in the foster care system.

© Copyright Protected. ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED.

The Holiday Season and Foster Care

Posted by on December 2, 2013 at 5:30 am

Welcome to the end of 2013! Today I want to share three awesome resources available to support teens in foster care during the holiday season.


FosterClub, the national network for young people in foster care, recognizes the struggle faced by young people in and from foster care during the holidays. FosterClub provides the following Holiday Guides to offer ideas and encouragement to young people and the adults who support them.

  1. 12 Ideas for supportive adults to help a young person in foster care through the holidays (view here)
  2. Helping Young People in Foster Care Through the Holidays (view here)
  3. FosterClub’s Guide for Getting Through the Holidays (view here)


Many of you know that my favorite movie is Krush Groove. I also love Christmas music and old school hip hop. You don’t have to be a Rocket Scientist to figure that I am a Run DMC fan and one of my favorite Christmas songs is Christmas in Hollis. Check out the video here.


Internship for Local Student In Foster Care

Posted by on November 18, 2013 at 6:00 am


 Flexible internship opportunity will utilize journalism, public relations, and marketing strategies.


The Teen Toolbox Spring 2014 Internship Opportunity is designed to be a mutually beneficial working relationship. Internship is an unpaid opportunity for Washington metropolitan area college student in foster care or recent foster care alumni. The Teen Toolbox will provide practical work experience that allows intern to develop and enhance skills in journalism, marketing, and public relations. Intern will receive quality training and have access to critical academic and career resources. Intern is encouraged to take initiative and request assignments or projects that relate specifically to their career goals and that will strengthen this professional experience.


Intern must be self-motivated and able to work independently. Intern and Chief Visionary Officer will agree on tasks weekly. Many tasks can be completed online and reviewed with Chief Visionary Officer by telephone and email. Intern and Chief Visionary Officer will meet in person at least twice per month. Internship will begin in January 2014 and end in May 2014. Maximum 10 hours per week. Renewal is possible.

7th Annual Pack A Purse™ Drive Starts TODAY

Posted by on November 8, 2013 at 6:00 am

Our 7th Annual Pack A Purse™ Drive launches on TODAY, November 8, 2013. We are collecting purses (including totes and other handbags) filled with personal hygiene items for teen girls in foster homes, group homes, and homeless shelters. Only new and gently used purses will be accepted.


Personal hygiene items needed: toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, deodorant, soap, lotion, powder, shampoo, conditioner, shaving items, and lip gloss.


The Next Level – Pack A Purse Drive™ Phase II:
• We need several drop-off locations in the community for Pack A Purse Drive. Churches, hair salons, coffee shops, schools, community centers, and other local businesses.

• We are in need of a central location for sorting and packing donations. Volunteers welcomed!

• We desire a location that will allow participating agencies to be given specific “shopping” times so that youth can come and select their own items.

• We never want to make deliveries in black garbage bags so donations of large holiday shopping bags and other durable large bags will be accepted during each drive.

Reflections of a Foster Child

Posted by on October 30, 2013 at 6:00 am

Reflections of a Foster Child


When you see a child in care, when you see me…

Answer this question, what do you see?


Do you see resiliency? Do you see what I plan to be?


I don’t think so, I think you see the system because to you, I have no face!

So for me to overcome the system I must move from place to place.


Integration, segregation, group homes, different homes

Overcoming the system is like living in a dome.


To overcome the system, I need love and support.

I feel like an unborn baby hearing the doctor’s say “Abort”.


You see we want to overcome the system but were confused we don’t know what’s in store.

Is the system a safety net or just another Trap Door?


© Rick, Foster Child
[Published with permission]

teen male

Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer

12th Annual Jannie P. Hayes Adoption Awards Gala

Posted by on October 23, 2013 at 7:12 am

Coalition of Adoption Programs
12th Annual Jannie P. Hayes Adoption Awards Gala
“Celebration of Champions”


Saturday, November 2, 2013
Bay Ridge Christian Church
1071 Bay Ridge Road
Annapolis, MD
7:30 PM
Semi-formal attire
Purchase tickets here


Previously called the Annual Academy Awards of Adoption, the event has been renamed after the founder, Mrs. Jannie P. McNeil-Hayes, to capture the spirit, heart and effervescence of the founder. Mrs. McNeil-Hayes is a tireless champion for adoption and adoptive families and we will honor her 20 years of hard work and dedication to adoptive families.


Senator Ben Cardin selected Jannie P. McNeil-Hayes as a 2013 Angels in Adoption™ awardee for her outstanding advocacy of adoption and/or foster care issues. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which orchestrates the Angels in Adoption™ program. Mrs. McNeil-Hayes was celebrated at an awards ceremony on October 8 and gala on October 9 in Washington, DC. Each year, more than 140 Angels are honored through the Angels in Adoption™ program.