Over the last five years that my daughter, JaMai, has organized her Pack-A-Purse Drive™ she has collected, sorted, and delivered a total of 951 purses and toiletries to teenage girls in homeless shelters, group homes, foster homes, and community programs. The annual Pack-A-Purse Drive was her brainchild – it spoke directly to her life as a teen girl. This year my nephew finally said what many people have probably been thinking – “What about the boys”. (I was actually surprised it took him this long to ask.)
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. This year during the month of May we WILL take care of the boys. We will launch the Pack-A-Backpack Drive™ in May 2012 to collect backpacks filled with toiletries/personal care items for teen boys in group homes and foster homes. Our goal for this first year is to collect 40 filled backpacks and deliver them to four organizations.
The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) numbers have consistently shown a slightly greater percentage of boys than girls in foster care.
- Point in Time. Of the estimated 423,773 children in foster care on September 30, 2009, 53 percent were male and 47 percent were female.
- Trends. The proportion of males to females in foster care on September 30 changed from 52 percent male/48 percent female in FY
If you’re at a loss for what toiletries to fill a boy’s backpack with let me help you. Boys need the same hygiene products girls need – soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, lotion, deodorant, shampoo, powder, lip balm, hand sanitizer, and planners. Add shaving items to the list and we’re headed for a homerun. The choices for males are grown tremendously over the last couple years. Take a stroll down the personal care aisle in your local store and you’ll find soap, lotion, and body wash made specifically for males. See pictures below. They even come in cool gift packs.
Backpacks, duffle bags, messenger bags, and knap sacks as well as regular size and trial size toiletries will be accepted until May 24, 2012. Contact us for more details. Items can also be mailed to The Teen Toolbox, LLC, PO Box 6368, Columbia, MD 21045.
Oh, and if you’re traveling please remember to donate your unused hotel toiletries.
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities 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.