In celebration of Foster Care Awareness Month, we are continuously highlighting our most important projects to support organizations that are committed to helping foster kids in our community. In our last article, Foster Care Grants Are Helping to Improve Child Welfare, we mentioned some of the data for 2019 and how Embrace Washington, one of our 2022 grant receivers, is Helping Kids with a Leg Up with Educational Support And Good Night’s Sleep. Now, it’s our opportunity to share the valuable work that Spokane Angels is doing for kids and youth in our community.
Helping Foster Kids And Families Through Spokane Angels
Spokane Angels was formed in 2016 with the mission of walking alongside children, youth, and families in the foster care community by offering consistent support through intentional giving of thoughtful and personal resources, gifts, and care packages; relationship building by devoting time and energy to fostering healthy relationships; and mentorship by equipping and empowering the youth.
With the vision of supporting the journey of every single child and youth who experiences foster care to reach their fullest potential, Believe in Me has helped to fund two programs through the Spokane Angels. Your generosity has allowed Believe in Me to provide $10,500 each for their Love Box and Dare to Dream Programs, which are helping more than 100 kids and families in the foster care system in Spokane.
Understanding Instability In Foster Kids’ Lives
Imagine that you are a five-year-old foster kid. You should be going to school, playing with your friends, and have the love and support of your family. But instead, it’s the 3rd time in this year that you are moving to another home. At such a tender age, you can only imagine how confused, upset, and even tired this child would feel. Actually, adjusting to a new home, new caregivers, new norms, new school, and a new community can be extremely difficult for children facing this situation. The effect of this instability on foster children is profound. Research has shown that it negatively impacts their mental health, emotional well-being, ability to form meaningful relationships, and educational outcomes.
In addition, it is important to understand the factors that lead to the instability these children face. For example, age, past traumas, poor well-being, and even lack of support to foster parents can be some of the reasons that increase instability. To help provide hope for foster kids and their parents, it is important to provide them with holistic support so they can begin their journey toward healing and growth.
The Message Of Hope Behind The Love Box Program
Spokane Angels’ Love Box Program provides this holistic support, with a quarterly box full of support items delivered directly to the foster family home. Some of the goodies that foster families and kids can find inside the boxes can vary from school supplies, clothes, snacks, books, accessories, toiletries, holiday kits, books, and board games for all the family. It may include stuffed animals to hug, dining out certificates to take a well-deserved night off from cooking, or movie tickets to spend a fun evening out as a family.
These special deliveries help both the child and parent to feel valued and supported during what can be a very tumultuous time. These treats give caregivers a small bit of respite in hopes that they will have the strength to continue to do the important and meaningful work of being foster parents. Kids benefit from a greater sense of normalcy, and relational permanency, and develop a greater sense of hope and self-confidence with each delivery.
Providing Hope With The Dare To Dream Program
The second program funded by the Believe in Me grant is the Spokane Angels Dare to Dream Program. For all youth, turning into an adulthood age is a moment of challenges and changes. Besides the instability suffered by many foster kids, we have to add factors like learning disabilities, limited life skills, health issues, and emotional and behavioral struggles that lead to negative developmental outcomes.
The mission of the Dare to Dream program is to walk alongside youth as they navigate through life’s challenges. Every other week, mentors meet with the youth to set goals and help them achieve their dreams through advice, encouragement, community, and relationships that last a lifetime. The simple act of telling youth that you believe in them, and their abilities, reminding them how special, and strong they are, to highlight their qualities and values; makes a world of difference for that person.
The mentors are advocates, consistent friends, and role models for this foster kid. They help them in different milestones like getting their license drives or graduating from high school and accompany all the process to discover their vocation and apply to college. Mentors are there to give youth the confidence they need to succeed, to stand by their side, and give a healthy foundation upon youth can build their futures.
Other Programs And Organizations In Our Community Who Are Helping Kids
Likewise, there are new plans to create programs that can complement the Love Box program like a foster parent support group and babysitting training courses for our Love Box leaders to be able to give them respite time. Foster parents are on the front lines of every foster child’s battle with instability. It is their responsibility and an opportunity to significantly improve a child’s chances of finding a safe, secure, loving home.
We are proud to support organizations like Embrace WA, Spokane Angels, and the Boys and Girls Club of Spokane, for all the amazing work they do in our community to support kids. “What moves us”, as Spokane Angels says, “is to ensure every child feels a deep sense of belonging and care, every youth reaches their fullest potential and achieves their dreams, in the fostering care system, but also outside it.” With your support as a volunteer or donor, we can help organizations like the Spokane Angels that provide hope for foster children and families. Your generosity is helping them to develop the self-confidence they need to succeed.