For most, those two words generate an immediate image. Maybe from personal experience or from what someone has seen on television or in a movie. For some, the image is a positive one – a fresh start at a new life – for others, an uncertain new chapter. Or maybe the term “foster care” conjures up a picture of a small child or teenager – constantly shuffled between new “families” learning to navigate unfamiliar houses, a new school and new people. However, sometimes it can represent the first time in a child’s life they feel safe and cared about.
The reality is, foster care is all those things – and more.
May is National Foster Care Month, a time to acknowledge the many people – foster parents, extended family members, child welfare professionals, community volunteers, and various other community partners – who provide safety and support for children and youth who have been removed from their biological parents’ homes for any number of reasons.
While May gives us the opportunity to bring awareness to the needs of supporting those connected to the foster care system, there are ways to continue supporting providers and foster children and youth well beyond May 31st.
Making a difference in the life of a child or youth doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Using your gifts and talents can make a difference in helping all children and youth thrive.
Not sure where to start? Here are 8 ways:
- Give a monetary gift to a CYDC Program, like Freestyle Academy, our summer education program for residents, which reaches youth in care directly and provides them with learning opportunities.
- Provide a new experience by supporting extracurricular activities – donate park passes, concert tickets, movie passes, or offer to cover the cost of a summer camp scholarship.
- Donate gas gift cards, new household items or professional clothing, this can help older youth and help them start strong as they embark on living independently.
- Send a care package to our college-aged youth in school. A fun box of snacks, school supplies, and a note of encouragement can go a long way towards helping youth achieve their educational goals.
- Become and have career advice? Consider creating an internship or mentorship opportunity at your place of business.
- Donate your talents – lawn maintenance, advertising, tutoring… the list goes on!
- Help tell our story by spreading the word about CYDC programs and services in your social circles.
- Volunteer at CYDC events or on campus.
Have another idea? We’d love to hear from you!
If you are interested in any of the above ways to support youth in foster care reach out to our development team at Development@CYDC.org.