The following six ideas can help anyone—not just foster parents—to improve the lives of foster kids in their community. Some of these tips are suitable for people of any age and availability, so encourage your friends, church groups, spouses, and even your children to get involved with these practical opportunities to make a difference in the lives of foster youth:
1. If you know a foster family in your community, offer to help with needs they may have. These may include carpooling to/from school, preparing a meal for busy weeknights, including the family in community or neighborhood events, and generally reaching out to them to show your care and support.
2. Call your local school to ask about needs of foster children enrolled there. Many times, foster children are unfortunately left behind academically and can benefit from donations of resources that they may not have access to. One of the most important resources you can donate is your time; as after-school tutors, adults or even high-schoolers can help younger kids catch up in subjects like reading, spelling, math, or basic sciences while also serving as mentors or role models.
3. If you own a local business, offer a teenage foster kid the opportunity to serve as an intern and learn valuable workplace skills while preparing for a future career. A program called Teenwork exists to provide foster teens with these internship opportunities through Georgia Department of Family and Child Services, and interested local businesses can contact Crystal Culver for more information. Participating in this program can show foster teens that adult role models care not just about their well-being now, but also about their future.
4. Contact children’s homes around Athens to find out whether they need donations of clothes or shoes. If your kids have outgrown clothes quickly or find they don’t often wear certain clothes or shoes, these gently used items might be greatly appreciated by a children’s home in your area. Talking with your kids about donating clothes, rather than throwing them away, is also a great opportunity to help them learn about helping others.
5. Vote for candidates who show that they care about children’s wellbeing and will try to improve the foster care system. Many of the struggles involved in foster care are political, so don’t hesitate to call or write to your congressman when issues arise regarding legislation that will affect foster children.
6. One of the best ways to help kids like these is to get involved in the CASA program. CASA volunteers can change a child’s life by advocating for him or her to receive the best care possible after being removed from a situation of abuse or neglect. To find out how you can start training to be a CASA volunteer in Athens, contact Mary at 706-613-1922 x1 or email@example.com.
Do you have any other ideas about helping foster kids or any experiences you’d like to share? Please post them in the comments!