Although many people misunderstand them, negatively stereotype them, underestimate them, and are even a bit afraid of them, I love working with teens. Teens are not just our future – they are our present. I believe that we all have an obligation to prepare a better world for them to inherit and also to adequately prepare them to be world changers.
As we continue to highlight the great work of various agencies, individuals, and publications throughout National Foster Care Month, today I want to send a very special THANK YOU to all the foster parents stepping in to bring positive changes to so many lives. Happy Foster Care Month!! YOU ROCK!! (Oh, and by the way, I do realize that society negatively stereotypes foster parents as well).
Every state in the United States has children and teens in the foster care system. These young people belong to all of us. May is National Foster Care Month. Let’s show that we care.
National Foster Care Month Core Messages:
- The Magnitude – on any given day there are more than 400,000 children in foster care.
- The Need – every child needs at least one permanent connection with a caring, trusted adult
- The Faces of Foster Care – a disproportionate number of children in foster care are children of color but children of race, ethnicity, culture and age group are a part of the child welfare system
- The Consequences – youth who age out of the system are more likely to experience a variety of negative consequences including homelessness and prison
Today is the day. May 1st marks the beginning of National Foster Care Month. This entire month is dedicated to showcasing that each of us can play a part in enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care.
National Foster Care Month 2013 – Supporting Youth In Transition
- On any given day there are more than 400,000 children in foster care.
- Roughly 28,000 youth will leave foster care without a permanent family.
National Foster Care Month also provides an opportunity for acknowledging the thousands of dedicated foster families and other caring individuals and organizations who are already supporting youth in foster care. We can never publicly recognize all the agencies supporting these young people. We will highlight various agencies throughout National Foster Care Month.
The The Child Welfare League of America reports that there are over 400,000 kids in foster care in the US. Children move on average 7 times while in the foster care system. Very often trash bags are the unofficial luggage of children in foster care. They regularly move from place to place with only the clothes on their backs or their personal items stuffed into a garbage bag. What message does it send to a child when everything they love or possess is transported in trash bags? This is damaging to their self-image and emotional stability. It strips them of their dignity and worth. Children in foster care also need something they can be proud of and that belongs only to them. Trash bags are for trash and not a child’s luggage.
On April 8, 2013, The Teen Toolbox will sponsor the 2nd Annual Pack A Backpack Drive with Coalition of Adoption Programs to deliver new luggage and care packaged to teen males in foster homes, group homes, and homeless shelters. .
Today is the first day of spring and April is on the way. You’re probably wondering why I am so excited about April. Well…
My birthday is in April and this year is a VERY special one for ME. I will be celebrating my birthday by kicking off our Pack A Backpack Drive on April 8, 2013!
We begin collecting for our 2nd Annual Pack A Backpack Drive in April. No one should be forced to carry their personal belongings in garbage bags. Our 2013 Pack A Backpack goal is to collect and distribute 80 backpacks, duffel bags, and travel luggage filled with personal hygiene items to teen males in foster homes, group homes, and homeless shelters. We hope to partner with fraternities, church groups, sports teams, barber shops, mentoring groups, school clubs, and men’s stores.
We surpassed our National Foster Care Awareness Month First Annual Pack A Backpack Drive™ goal by collecting 46 backpacks filled with personal hygiene items to teen males in foster homes, group homes, and homeless shelters during the month of May 2012. Thanks to our amazing donors, the backpacks were donated to KidsPeace, Prince George’s County Department of Social Services Independent Living Program, Hearts & Homes For Youth, DC Family and Youth Initiative and KOBA Institute, Inc, in the Washington Metropolitan area. Brooke Boersma hosted a drive on the west coast and delivered 10 backpacks to Creative Alternativesin Turlock, CA. Please our Pack A Backpack™ page for more information.
We are grateful to our generous donors. Thank you:
- Carolyn and Arthur Harris
- Laurie Laven Nardinelli
- Brooke Boersma
- Crystal Morgan Marable
- Laila El-Asmar
- Phyllis Lewis
- Patricia McBryde
- Katrina Carter
- Way of the Cross Church
- Erica Bigelow
- Julia Knight
- Kathy Bumpass
- Alicia Allen
- Bukky Kehinde
- Victory International Church
Our final blog post for our National Foster Care Month blog series on teen males is a profile of foster care alumni and Foster Focus Magazine publisher Christopher Chmielewski. Christopher was adopted at an early age and grew up in the “coal region” of Pennsylvania. He entered foster care as a teen and eventually “aged-out” of the system. Once Christopher aged out of foster care, he was expelled from school just a few weeks short of his high school graduation. This did not deter Christopher from continuing his education. He received his equivalency diploma and registered for college the day after achieving this goal. Christopher could have remained in foster care until age 21 but elected to leave because he had begun to feel like a burden on the foster parents who welcomed him into their family.