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Easy ways to help local foster kids without becoming a foster parent

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You have all seen the advertisements of the starving children in other countries, and had your heart break. You have donated via text to help the kids in Haiti, hoping to make a difference. You have sent Christmas treats to unknown kids in Africa, wanting to put a smile on a child’s face.

But what have you done for the orphaned, abused, and neglected child living down the street? You might not feel led to be a foster parent, but you are probably not against the idea of helping foster kids in some way. Yet, you don’t know how. In Colorado, there are approximately 7,921 kids in foster care. That is 7,921 kids who need clothes, shoes, toys, as well as things to do for fun. This is where moms like you step in.

Ways to help

There is a huge need right now, in all counties, for school supplies, and African-American hairstylists.

Items needed:

filled diaper bags
small toys
diapers
wipes
school supplies
backpacks
formula
baby food
little chairs
baby bath towels
non-perishable food items
birthday baskets (themed plates/napkins/cups/cake-mix)
birthday presents (please designate age)
kids’ clothes (please consider Human Services as a place to donate slightly-used clothing)
Packs of Hope (backpacks filled with a new outfit and pajamas for kids placed in foster care)

Volunteer Opportunities:

Be a mentor.
Help with “back-to-school” drive, sorting donations.
“Adopt” a child during the holidays, and provide meals and gifts.
Help with the once-a-month KIDS NIGHT OUT.*
Provide services, such as haircuts or tutoring.
Styling African-American hair
Respite Care**
Provide home repair/maintenance
Transportation to visits
Prepare frozen meals
*KIDS’ NIGHT OUT: themed party, costumes, games, crafts – for all kids in out-of-home care
**Respite Care: providing care for foster kids while their foster parents go out on a date, or out of town. (this can be anywhere from 2 hours to 2 weeks)

Your business or church can provide the following:

Sporting event tickets, host a pizza party, room makeovers, home renovation

In most counties to be a volunteer with kids, it requires you to spend a morning or afternoon with the coordinator, and allow them to do a background check. If you are interested in helping foster kids in your area, please contact your county office immediately. The burden is heavy, and they need moms like us to help make a difference. The opportunities to help are endless, if we are willing to look outside our own front door and see the need down the street.

Contact information:

Adams County
Children And Family Services Center
7401 North Broadway
Denver, CO 80221
303.412.KIDS (5437)

Arapahoe County
Julie Schilling, LCSW
ACDHS Volunteer Coordinator/Community Liaison
(303) 636-1851
[email protected]

Denver County
foster care: [email protected]
volunteer: [email protected]
[email protected] www.Denvergov.org/fostercare

Jefferson County
Contact (303) 330-3450
Korina Keating Volunteer Coordinator
[email protected]

Guest blogger Stephanie Gardner is a wife and mom/foster mom of 5, who has made it her life’s purpose to find a cure for the “car-ride bickering.” Blogging about the journey of being foster mom at Drive Sideways, trying to enjoy every moment of her kids’ childhood, and adoring her husband are what keeps her days full.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Elona Rathbun August 24, 2010

    Way to go, Steph. You are an inspiration to all of us. How far little items can go and how far just a word of encouragement can keep someone going each day. You do that for so many. I’m touched to do something to help.

  • comment avatar Mitzi Lewis August 24, 2010

    This is such an important job/ministry. Thanks for making it more known so others might be able to get more involved! You are an inspiration!

  • comment avatar Kathie Kittle August 24, 2010

    Thanks for the much needed information. One doesn’t always know how they can help. Your article put a tug on our hearts. May we be willling to help the foster children in our community.

  • comment avatar Michelle Coffey August 24, 2010

    Thank you for sharing your stories and experiences. You have given us great ideas on how to help others in our communities. You are such an inspiration!

  • comment avatar Robyn Prickett August 24, 2010

    Great article! You showed us a true need and a positive way that each of us can do something about it–and most of them are very do-able even for busy people. May God continue to bless your efforts in the lives of these precious kids.

  • comment avatar Patty Gardner August 24, 2010

    Thank you for much needed information on a subject very dear to you.

  • comment avatar Ruth August 24, 2010

    This is just what people need to know. We can change the world, one kid at a time! Thanks so much for putting this together.

  • comment avatar Lisa August 24, 2010

    Thanks for the great info!

  • comment avatar Lisa August 24, 2010

    Thanks for the great information and for getting this out there!

  • comment avatar Yolanda August 24, 2010

    You know it’s silly- I don’t think I have ever heard (or read) an article of what people could do to help out foster kids without actually being a foster parent. This is a great idea and I think a lot of good could come if people knew there were needs they could meet. I hope this is able to be sent to other media sources so that the word can get out. Thanks for sharing the ideas!

  • comment avatar Karis August 24, 2010

    Thank you for the information on how and where to help.

  • comment avatar Diana August 24, 2010

    Loved the article! I never thought about all little things that make a huge in the kids daily lives and their foster parents. Thanks for sharing!

  • comment avatar Brandi August 24, 2010

    Thanks for the information on how to reach out to foster kids. I liked the idea about “adopting” a child during the holidays. This is a great way to help the foster kids in our own community. Thanks for sharing!

  • comment avatar Charis August 25, 2010

    What an important mission! Thanks for sharing how those of us who can’t be foster parents can still help both those kids & the foster parents themselves.

  • comment avatar Marya August 25, 2010

    Thank you for the detailed list of how everyone can help… from small, inexpensive items, to larger investments of time. Is there any need for gently used toys or baby gear? We’re looking for worthy places to donate some of the abundance of toys in our house!

  • comment avatar Stephanie August 25, 2010

    Thanks for taking the time to read and leave comments!
    If you have any gently used baby toys/items, you can take them to your county’s Child Protective Services Department, and they will be thrilled to accept your donation. If you go to your county’s website, you will be able to find their location and hours.

  • comment avatar Diana Tomko August 28, 2010

    Thanks, Stephanie, for the loving care you are providing to your own foster children, as well as this call for others to get involved in helping kids in our own backyard. Running a supply drive would be a great school project!

  • comment avatar Chad August 31, 2010

    It can be so easy to forget and overlook the ones right in our neighborhood that are neglected and abused. Thank you for doing your part and letting others know how to do theirs. We always have extra, more than enough, and never have to sacrifice or suffer nearly as much as these children. And I suppose that its not just moms who can help….

  • comment avatar Marta Selmo March 24, 2011

    Excellent article.. I wonder if people are going to pay attention that our kids are suffering and in much NEED of help…. I really hope so!!!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson August 12, 2011

    Great reminder that you don’t need to be a foster parent in order to help out. Thank you for the information!