Tag Archive

What Would You Like to Read?

Published on February 4, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Happy first Monday in February! We ushered in 2013 with excitement about living on purpose and the enthusiasm continues. 


As you know, The Teen Toolbox blog and services have been dedicated to supporting youth in foster care and raising awareness about the needs and potential of teens at rick of aging out of the foster care system without a permanent family.  We have decided to increase our blogging schedule to three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) this year and want to be sure we are writing what you want to read.


Would you please read the following foster care blog posts (over the next couple days or weeks) and provide feedback on what you learned, what else you would like to know about teens in foster care, or questions about how you can get involved and support teens in foster care. 


Feel free to comment about the blogs on the pages of the blog posts below if you are inspired to do so, however, please email or inbox any questions or suggestions related to recommended blog topics for 2013.  THANK YOU!!

Is SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month Safe?

Published on October 18, 2012 By Nicki Sanders

The Teen Toolbox is on a mission to raise awareness about the needs and potential of youth in transition from foster care and work to counteract negative statistics and stories by showcasing the talent and determination in young people.  We invite you to nominate a teen for our “SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month” feature which recognizes a youth in the foster care system (14-21) that is leading a life of promise and making a positive impact in his or her community.
Have you nominated a teen for “SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month” yet?  Are you wondering if submitting the nomination is a safe or smart thing to do?  I understand completely.   In fact, I have had similar concerns when I’ve seen profiles of youth awaiting adoption on my local news or adoption website, or in the email newsletters from organizations that serve youth in foster care. 


First Annual Pack-A-Backpack Drive™

Published on March 15, 2012 By Nicki Sanders

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.

Are Your Youth Still Volunteering?

Published on February 23, 2012 By Nicki Sanders

If you’ve ever met me in person, read my blog, or follow me on social media you know that I am a HUGE proponent of volunteerism.  I believe whole heartedly that civic engagement builds character, leadership, and confidence in youth. The right service opportunity can help youth develop compassion, responsibility, and critical thinking skills.  I know firsthand that meaningful community service can also assist in career exploration as youth develop marketable skills.


Although we’re only in the second month of the New Year, there have been three opportunities to engage youth in volunteering and community service that I find significant.  The first was the Youth Service America Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 16, 2012.  We were encouraged serve our community and use the national holiday as a “day on not a day off”.  I wrote a blog about it at http://theteentoolbox.com/how-will-your-youth-serve/)  Second is the GOOD 30-Day Challenge: Become A GOOD Citizen which began on February 1, 2012.  GOOD celebrates the diverse ways, both large and small, that we can give back to our community.  Each day we are invited to perform a different task that will help us along the road of becoming a good citizen all year long.  (You can read more at http://www.good.is/post/the-good-30-day-challenge-become-a-good-citizen/ )  February 13-19, 2012 was celebrated as Random Acts of Kindness Week.   There is no mistaking the purpose of this week – show unexpected kindness to others.  (You can read more at http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/RAK-Week/ )  I love and see the value in each of them!

How Will Your Youth Serve?

Published on January 12, 2012 By Nicki Sanders

In our work world, evidence-based practice and evidence-based research are King.  Objectives, outcomes, and goals are commonplace.  In my supervisory role I stress that we have to have proof that we are doing really works.  I am a huge proponent of civic engagement and so as I was thinking about the upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King Day and the Youth Service America kick off a semester of service I decided to go a bit further and hit the internet to provide you with documentation that supports what I’ve seen in my experience and know in my heart is an effective aspect of youth development.


We All Can Serve! How Will You Commemorate 11-11-11?

Published on November 7, 2011 By Nicki Sanders

If you’ve read any of my blog posts you know that I am an advocate for volunteerism and service.  I also have a special place in my heart for our military.  I am eternally grateful to those who protect our security and freedom. I am dedicating today’s post to highlight ways that we can support and honor United States military service members and veterans.


Veterans Day 2011 is almost here.  That’s right 11-11-11 is four days away.  There are countless opportunities to show your gratitude for our active military soldiers and veterans.  Below you will find a few examples to get you started.



  • Visit hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes t
  • Give your time to a nonprofit organization that supports service members and veterans


Snail Mail

  • Create and send personalized care packages
  • Write and mail letters
  • Create and send greeting cards



  • Organize a monetary collection at your school, church, job or organization
  • Organize a fundraiser (event)