Not every family is in the unique position to foster or adopt children. However, each of us has the ability to impact children that are placed into foster care. Here are some unique ways that you can support foster children:
1. Photographers: Donate your time as a professional photographer to capture the beauty and uniqueness of children who have yet to be matched to an adoptive family. For an amazing example of this work, check out Heart Gallery Alabama at heartgalleryalabama.com. Additionally, photographers could donate their time taking photos for families at their local parent/child visitation center. These photos can then be used in the child’s Life Book and to comfort them when they are missing their siblings and parents.
2. School Supplies: Provide backpacks and school supplies to your local child welfare office or foster care agency. Erica Illg of Kelseyville, California, a fourteen year old teen started her project to impact local foster youth. Check out her story here.
3. Duffel Bags: Similar to backpacks, donate new duffel bags for children who are coming into foster-care. Children are often placed with only the clothing on their backs and few, if any, personal belongings. Better yet – offer your embroidery services to personalize these youth’s luggage with their first name.
4. Finances: If you have the skills of basic money management, budgeting, and banking…offer to teach youths who are preparing to age out of foster care about basic money management.
5. Hairdressers: If you are a professional hairdresser or nail tech, donate your expertise to foster youth for special events such as prom or homecoming.
6. Housing: The Muir family has decided to convert their garage to a two bedroom apartment. Their goal is to provide a safe place for an emancipated foster youth and her daughter to live for free. You can support their efforts by donating at http://www.crowdrise.com/muirfamilywish/fundraiser/onesimplewish
7. Employment/Internships: Work with local child welfare agencies to teach job interviewing skills to youths in care. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner, invest in these youths future by teaching them how to start their own business. Create an internship position for a local foster youth to gain experience and mentoring that will ultimately provide them the skills needed to be successful in life.
8. Household Goods: Donate new household good items (pots and pans, dishes, bedding, etc) to support youths that are moving out on their own.
9. Holiday Support: For most families, the holiday’s are a time of family gathering. My county’s Independent Living program works with local colleges to ensure emancipated youths can stay in the dormitories during break periods, or they work with local hotels to ensure these young adults have a safe place in the interim. Open up your home to these youth for a few hours to provide a welcoming environment and a home cooked meal.
10. Support High School Grads: Foster children do not have the same excitement and anticipation when it comes to high school graduation as their peers. Those who graduate from high school and are transitioning to college may be turned out of their foster home with nowhere to go until school starts in the fall. Can you provide a safe place for these young leaders to stay until they are able to start college?
If you have any other unique ideas or ways to support children who have entered into foster care, please share them below in the comments. I would love to hear what creative things you have done!
TalkingToToddlers.com Struggling with how to manage an unruly two year old? Check Out Talking To Toddlers: Dealing With The Terrible Two’s And Beyond
Money Smart Teen Training: teach your teen everything they need to know about money.
myoutofcontrolteen.com Learn cut-to-the-chase parenting strategies that work.
The Venus Factor The Venus Factor is the first and only weight loss plan designed to dramatically increase female metabolism and bring out the goddess in you by delivering fast, long term, enjoyable fat loss.