Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Children > Spotlight Non-profit: “Angels” hear foster children’s wishes all year long

Spotlight Non-profit: “Angels” hear foster children’s wishes all year long

LatinaLista — During the holiday season, it’s not unusual to see an Angel Tree here or there in malls or office lobbies. Simple wishes, made by children and adults, caught in poverty.

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Yet, just because January 1 eventually arrives, it doesn’t mean that there still aren’t wishes to be granted. There’s a group of children who are often described as being the invisible children of society caught up in another type of situation. They are foster children.

Children who have had to endure physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect and outright abandonment by the people they call family. These children are removed from their homes, sometimes carrying all their belongings in trash bags, and end up in foster care. The outlook for these children is not good:

25% of foster children will have experienced homelessness at least once
46% will still lack a high school diploma four years after leaving care
More than 1/3 suffer emotional disturbances and the behavioral problems that often accompany them
Fewer than 1 in 5 will be completely self-supporting four years after leaving the child welfare system

In 1999 in South Texas, a group noticed that many foster children have low self-esteem and their simplest wishes, that would normally be filled by loving family members, went unfulfilled.

These children needed angels throughout the year to help make some of their wishes come true. So, Foster Angels of South Texas was created to do just that.

The organization’s main purpose is:

to improve the lives of children in foster care, ensuring that each child has his or her basic needs met, and to provide life-enriching and life-enhancing experiences whenever possible.

Foster Angels of South Texas works with different organizations looking after the best interests of these children but they also work at granting special requests of foster children that help with socialization skills, self-esteem and self-confidence.

For example:

Justin, a 14 year old in foster care, has never shown an interest in any extracurricular activities. After expressing an interest in joining the band and wanting to play the trombone, his foster parents, who could not afford the additional expense, approached C.P.S. for help. We are requesting funds to purchase a trombone, band shoes and to cover the cost of band uniform maintenance.

Chelsea & Kara have been in foster care for over 2 years and are awaiting an adoptive family. The girls, ages 11 and 15, are feeling down due to not knowing whether a family is out there that “wants” them. Both girls are currently in cheerleading and gymnastics and would love to have new outfits for these classes.

Brian would like to have some art supplies. A 16 year old, he enjoys drawing and this seems to be a great comfort to him. Brian is a foster child, who was recently told that he would not be able to go home with his great-grandmother.

Requests, like these, arrive every day according to the group’s website. In asking for donations, donors are assured that 100 percent of the money goes directly towards the children.

From a quick look at the thank you notes, it’s easy to see that the needs of the children come first with the Foster Angels of South Texas.

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