Friday, May 30, 2014

May Showers of Love


 
 
May is lots of things—the gateway to summer, the last full month of school, the month of flowers after April showers—but also it’s national foster care month. I know some foster care parents and have shared their stories before, but not all of us are able to be foster care parents. So, I want to share some things that we can get involved in to help foster kids without being a foster parent. The first one is Together We Rise.

What I like about Together We Rise is that it started out of a real need. Danny Mendoza had a cousin who was living on his own. Danny couldn’t find a way to help because he was told he was too young. He decided to start his own charity that could help children in foster care while mobilizing young people to make a difference in the world.

Through its fundraising and network of passionate volunteers, Together We Rise gives foster children a brighter future and a sense of normalcy and belonging. They provide bikes, sports camps and simple suitcases for foster youth. Their Aging Out program also provides resources to older youth who are leaving the foster care system.

You can donate a buck a month or more if you have it or give a onetime gift. If you don’t have any money, then start a fundraising page of your own.

Another way to help foster children is to become an advocate for them. You may have heard of guardian at litems or court appointed special advocates. They become an advocate for a child by learning about that child’s situation through reviewing records, interviewing the children, family members and professionals in their lives.

They appear in court to help explain what is in the child’s best interests. They seek cooperative solutions for the children. They recommend services and monitor plans and court orders to make sure plans are being followed and keep the court informed.

Advocates commit to stay with the child until they are put in a loving, permanent home. They can be the only constant adult presence in a child’s life when they have been taken from their parent’s home.

I’ve also written about Foster Care to Success before. It offers many ways to get involved – from sponsoring a student’s education to buying textbooks, knitting scarves or providing care packages.  

There are lots of ways to help children who have been separated from their families because of difficult circumstances over which they have no control. They are at the mercy of their parents, the court system and foster parents. But a helping hand can remind them that they are not really on their own.

These are some options if you want to be that helping hand. We can continue the showers of April into May and provide showers of love to foster kids. God bless.

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