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7th Annual Pack A Purse™ Drive Starts TODAY

Published on November 8, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

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.

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.

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

Thank You For Sharing Your Foster Care Journey

Published on January 2, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

December 2012 was a month of pride and enlightenment at The Teen Toolbox. We hosted our 6th Annual PACK A PURSE™ Drive and collected and distributed 705 purses and other bags filled with personal hygiene items to teen girls in foster care in 17 organizations.

 

We were also greatly inspired by the seven women foster care alumni who shared their personal joys and achievements via The Teen Toolbox blog. I am grateful for their advocacy, leadership, and wisdom.

 

THANK YOU, ladies, for raising your voices to positively impact the lives of youth in foster care all around the world.

 

Latrice Ware, Mentor, Advocate, Foster Care Alumni

 

Helen Hall Ramaglia, Author, Foster/Adopt Mother, Foster Care Alumni

 

Shalita O’Neale, Trail Blazer, Advocate, and Foster Care Alumni

 

Shay Olivarria, Financial Education Speaker, Author and Foster Care Alumni

 

Kea Theroux, Foster Care Alumni, CASA Volunteer, and Social Worker

 

Capri Cruz, Author, Speaker, Foster Care Alumni and Activist

Latrice Ware, Mentor, Advocate, Foster Care Alumni

Published on December 31, 2012 By Nicki Sanders

Latrice Ware was born and raised in Ohio.  She was in kinship care until age 12 and then went into the foster care system at age 13 after her grandmother had a stroke.  Latrice was placed in three foster homes.  Latrice questioned how a stranger could love a child that wasn’t theirs.  Her foster mother’s response was that she does love her and that she cares for someone else children so those children can do it for someone else.  She challenged Latrice to do more and be more.  Because of her love and encouragement, Latrice has spent her entire life helping others.  Latrice graduated high school and began college at 16.  She endured a heart catheterization procedure as a teenager and left school because of her health.

 

Latrice found a job in corporate America and worked her way up the corporate ladder.  The price of success was working 65-70 hours per week leaving little time to spend with her young daughter.  She then worked as a consultant for Arlington County. 

 

Helen Hall Ramaglia, Author, Foster/Adopt Mother, Foster Care Alumni

Published on December 27, 2012 By Nicki Sanders

Helen Hall Ramaglia is an author, Foster/Adoptive Mother, Speaker and Advocate for kids in foster care.  She is Founder and Executive Director of Fostering SuperStars, a nonprofit organization designed to enrich the lives of children placed in foster care by serving as a primary connector to organizations, partnerships and providers to meet many of their needs that would normally go unmet.  Fostering SuperStars matches each child with a mentor/advocate, enrolls each child in life skills camp, and ensures that each child receives a seasonal wardrobe twice a year.  Fostering SuperStars will also connect each child who desires it with an organization that provides horseback riding/therapy.

 

Helen says that we must fully understand the heart and life of a foster child before we can effectively foster, adopt or work with this vulnerable population of extraordinary children.  She shared her story with The Teen Toolbox blog readers to help America walk in the shoes of a child who has experienced physical, mental and emotional abuse, was removed from everything they had known, was provided shelter from the State and strangers, and thrust into adulthood totally unprepared.

Pack A Purse Drive 2012 Gratitude

Published on December 25, 2012 By Nicki Sanders

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

 

THANK YOU!!

A grand total of 705 purses (tote bags, duffle bags, and other gift bags) were collected and distributed to 17 organizations for JaMai and The Teen Toolbox’s 6th Annual Pack A Purse Drive.

Recipients:

The Children’s Home in Catonsville

Sarah’s House

RICA, Baltimore

Anne Arundel County Partnership for Youth and Families

DC Family and Youth Initiative

Courtney’s House

Howard County Department of Social Services Independent Living Program

Prince George’s County Department of Social Services Independent Living Program

Coalition of Adoption Programs

Hearts & Homes For Youth

Echelon Community Services

A Step Closer Foundation (She Matters)

Ionia Whipper House, Inc.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc.

Covenant House Washington

Maryland Foster Youth Resource Center

Child and Family Services Administration

 

We are grateful to all who collaborated, supported, promoted, donated, sorted, packed, and delivered purses.