When thinking of foster children most envision small children abused and neglected. While that notion is not incorrect it also isn’t totally correct either. Hundreds of teens are daily placed in foster care across our nation. Many states including Alabama are pushing for permanency and these efforts are paying off. However, many still age out, meaning they do not receive a permanent placement before the age of 18 and are released to their own care. Not many adults that I know were able to make it 100% on their own with no support from family and friends straight out of high school. Most had help paying for college, worked for friends, or stayed with relatives. These teens that age out do not have that luxury. They are forced to stand on their own two feet with no one to encourage them or help them out of tight spots.
OFA, Orphan Foundation of American, has some ways you can help these young adults get a better start in life. One very simple and yet oh so rewarding way to help is to prepare and mail care packages.
The following was taken from OFA’s official site:
“I have learned to keep my head up and work harder and harder each day to get where I need to be. Care packages from OFA make a bigger difference than you can imagine, because they show me you’re behind me all the way.” Chiquitta G., University of Mississippi
To the thousands of young people who receive funding and services from OFA, care packages are the crown jewel in OFA’s array of supports. Ask them today or three years after they graduate, and they can describe every item in every package they ever got. Care packages are tangible proof of a caring community and are often just the right encouragement to help a student succeed.
How Can You Help
• Get your company involved. Sponsor the Care Package Program through gifts in kind (500 or more of one item or similar items) or a corporate donation. Support OFA through your holiday charitable drive.
• Host a care package event. Companies, groups and individuals are invited to send care packages to 25 or more students as a one-time project or periodically throughout the school year. OFA provides guidelines and mailing labels but your organization must cover shipping costs.
• Sponsor a care package for one or more students. Your donation of only $20 will help us send a package with school supplies, gift cards, edible goodies, simple necessities, and fun things that college students appreciate. Packages can be sent in honor of a loved one or on behalf of your organization.
For more information on the Care Package Program and how you can help, contact Lynn Davis, Director of Partnership Development.