LatinaLista — It is said that the nation’s foster children are the ‘invisible children.’ With no real family of their own and shuttled from one home to another until they’re either adopted or age out of the foster care system, these children are subjected to a harsh reality from young ages where they soon learn that wishes only exist in story books.
But with the help of Danielle and Joe Gletow, over 3000 foster care children in the New Jersey area have learned that they too can have wishes — and get them filled. After becoming foster adoptive parents, the Gletows knew they wanted to create a way for others to support children who were victims of abuse and neglect. So, in 2008 they created One Simple Wish.
Using the power of the Internet to fulfill foster children’s wishes, the organization’s web site features hundreds of wishes posted on behalf of foster children. The Gletows stress that granting the wishes is affordable, with most wishes ranging in price between $5 and $100.
Wishes range from being able to afford high school graduation pictures or a Target gift card for an aging-out teen to violin lessons or Polo cologne for a student living in a shelter — the wish database is filled with as many different wishes as there are children.
Anyone who wants to grant a wish only has to do a simple search of the database and pick which price range they want to contribute. To fulfill the wish, site visitors must register on the site so the organization can finish out the transaction for the wish to be granted.
Visitors have two options: They can either pay for the wish online or can send a check for the wish value shown. Once payment is received, the organization purchases the wish and arranges for delivery to the foster child. In this way, the child’s privacy can be maintained.
Also, wishes can be granted in honor of someone else by granting a wish in their name.
The Gletow’s commitment to foster children stems from a simple truth:
Granting a wish is more than just giving stuff. Granting a wish shows a child there is love, hope and support for every one of them.
As the following statistics on foster care children, as provided by the One Simple Wish web site, underscores, these children, more than anyone need to know that wishes can come true.
Most of the wishes granted by One Simple Wish are made by foster children through the social service agencies that support them. Foster children are America’s invisible children. They need our voice and here are some facts to explain why:
Over 500,000 children live in the foster care system each year. Foster care often includes multiple home and institution placements, sometimes within the same year or even month.
Nearly 58% of children in foster care are children of color.
Over 20,000 children age out of foster care every year with little to no support. Imagine turning 18 and having no family, no siblings, no relatives and no mentors to turn to.
Children who age out of foster care are several times more likely to end up homeless, addicted to drugs or incarcerated. It is estimated that more than 250,000 prisoners in the US were once foster children.
The average child in foster care remains in the system for more than 2 years, living away from their families, friends and familiar environments.