When I was 18, I worked at an agency in Los Angeles that served homeless youth. A majority of the youth that lived in the shelter and transitional home were emancipated from foster care. I learned early on about the struggles that children in foster care encounter after they turn 18. We were the same age and I had a pretty cool gig, I lived at home with my parents and the only worry I had, was what I was going to wear to the club that weekend. Working there also gave me my first experience in event coordinating. It was the holiday season and my boss and founder of the organization, asked me to put together an event, he gave me two simple instructions, get food to serve our guests and get the media there. It was a daunting task for my young self but I was able to get food donated and we had a successful press conference. I fell in love with seeing the finished product and it has become my passion and career to make good things happen for others ever since.
For the last ten years, I’ve worked with an arts organization that works with community agencies that serve homeless, foster and former foster youth. My job is to organize events and secure resources and donations for the youth served. Knowing that the holidays are a time when foster agencies need the most help, it became the perfect opportunity to invite the L.A Mamacitas to give back.
L.A Mamacitas gathered gifts, wrapping paper, holiday crafts, and treats to host an intimate “friends giving” and invited a group of Los Angeles mommy bloggers and their kids to join us. It was amazing to see that everyone was having fun and asking questions about getting involved and volunteering at non-profits. Ji, my oldest, enjoyed everything about it. It’s a beautiful thing when work is fun but also a learning experience for my kids.
There are so many ways to help non-profits that serve foster youth during the holidays and organizing a drive or having your own “friends giving” event is a simple and fun way to do so. You can make a difference by asking your co-workers or friends and family to bring one gift each to the holiday party, better yet, you can have some fun by putting some holiday music and wrapping the gifts together!
Below is a list of 5 things you can do to give back to agencies that work with foster children:
- Donate money. No amount is too small!
- Organize a drive for holiday gifts, school supplies or basic toiletries
- Re-Tweet or share the agency you support on social media
- Offer to teach a workshop that teaches the youth unique skills
- Sponsor an activity or things like food and drinks for one of their events
Instant Family will be out in theatres on Friday, November 16th. See you there!
I Love this! When I first became a social worker, it broke my heart when I had to replace a child and they would pack all of their belongings in trash bags. I ended up asking my co-workers in my office for suitcase donations (new and used). It was a success!!
I hear that a lot. Whenever we complete a program, we give the kids a tote bag with gifts. That way they can reuse the bag when they have to move again =(