Tag Archive

No Longer In Nicki’s Living Room

Published on June 28, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

The Teen Toolbox sponsors two annual drives/events to raise awareness about the issues faced by youth aging out of foster care and to show teens that someone cares:

  1.   PACK A PURSE DRIVE™– collects and distributes purses filled with personal hygiene items to teen girls in foster homes, groups homes and homeless shelters each December to celebrate the holiday season and the end of the year.
  2.   PACK A BACKPACK DRIVE™- collects and distributes backpacks with personal hygiene items to teen males in foster homes, group homes and homeless shelters each May during National Foster Care Awareness Month.


Phase II:

  • We appreciate the generosity of our amazing donors (some as far away as Wyoming and Pennsylvania) which has allowed our annual holiday drives to grow so large that they can no longer be housed in Nicki’s living room.
  • We need several drop-off locations in the community for Pack A Backpack Drive (May) and Pack A Purse Drive (December). Churches, hair salons, barber shops, coffee shops, schools, community centers, and other local businesses.

We Doubled Our Pack A Backpack Goal

Published on June 26, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

We more than doubled our National Foster Care Awareness Month Second Annual Pack A Backpack Drive goal and collected 210 backpacks (duffel bags and knapsacks) filled with personal hygiene items to teen males in foster homes, group homes, and homeless shelters during the months of May and June 2013. (Our goal was 80.)

The backpacks were donated to eight organizations:

  1. Child and Family Services Administration
  2. Prince George’s County Department of Social Services Independent Living Program
  3. Howard County Department of Social Services
  4. Hearts & Homes For Youth
  5. DC Family and Youth Initiative
  6. Aunt Hattie’s Place
  7. Maryland Foster Youth Resource Center
  8. A Step Closer Foundation

We are grateful to our generous donors. THANK YOU:

  • Mike Lotocki and All Pro Team Sports
  • Saint Francis Academy
  • Watkins Hornets Youth Association
  • Mervo Mustangs Football Booster Club, Inc
  • Baltimore Stallions
  • Prince George’s Community College student organizations
  • Carolyn and Arthur Harris
  • Julie Coulter
  • Sharon Lucasi
  • Lillian Fassett
  • Kim Gilmore

Last Day to Donate to 2nd Annual Pack A Backpack Drive

Published on May 24, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity raise awareness of the experiences and needs of the more than 400,000 children and youth in the foster care system.  Pack A Backpack Drive is The Teen Toolbox’s annual National Foster Care Month event.  During the month of May we have collected and distributed new and gently used backpacks (duffel bags, and luggage) and new personal hygiene items to teenage males in group homes, foster homes, and homeless shelters.


Today is the last day to donate: toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, hand sanitizer, deodorant, soap, acne products, lotion, powder, shampoo, conditioner, shaving items, etc.  We are also collecting disposable cameras and wallets.


What I Know Now:

  • These drives have grown too large for Nicki to make all the deliveries

Children and Teens in Foster Care Belong to All of Us

Published on May 3, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

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


  • The Priority – older youth aging out of the foster care system without a permanent family and the life skills to become stable and economically self-sufficient adults

Kick Off to National Foster Care Month 2013

Published on May 1, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

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.


Participating in Global Youth Service Day?

Published on April 24, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) celebrates and mobilizes the millions of young people who improve their communities each day of the year through service. Established in 1988, Global Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world, and the only day of service dedicated to children and youth.



Pack A Backpack Drive is our annual drive to collect and distribute backpacks, duffel bags, and luggage with personal hygiene items to teen males in foster homes, group homes and homeless shelters each May during National Foster Care Month.  Our Pack a Backpack Drive makes an awesome GYSD project.



Become An Ambassador: National Volunteer Week 2013

Published on April 21, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

National Volunteer Week begins today.  National Volunteer Week 2013 is celebrated April 21-27.  It is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.


National Volunteer Week is sponsored by Points of Light and was established in 1974.

It is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to foster positive transformation.


You can get involved with National Volunteer Week by becoming a Pack A Backpack Ambassador. An Ambassador organizes and hosts a collection site for our Pack A Backpack Drive.  We would like to collaborate with fraternities, youth groups, churches, sports teams, school clubs, and parent groups.