Many of you have expressed to me that you’d like to reach out and help a child but for some reason adoption or foster care is not right for you at this time. That’s okay! There are so many ways to be a child advocate other than bringing a child into your home. Here are some ideas to share with you:
o Serving as a foster care respite provider–give a foster couple a weekend alone with no children, or host the foster child(ren) for the holidays.
o Serving on a citizen’s review panel in your county
o Participating in Secret Santa and other events–sponsor foster children for Christmas!
o Operating a clothing closet or food pantry
o Sharing information about foster parenting at your place of work or worship, and other areas of the community
o Becoming a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) I knew a woman in China who when she lived in the states was a CASA and she loved it! She said it was the most rewarding years of her life.
Contact your local DFCS office if you are interested in volunteering for any of these activities.
You can also coordinate projects in your neighborhood, church, school or mom’s club. Here are a few that I have done over the years. (I always like to name my project because people like to be a part of something that sounds official!)
Zip Up A Smile
My friend, Candee and I coordinated this project in China for the local children’s hospital as well as here in the states for a local children’s shelter. Put together gallon-sized Ziploc bags with snacks, toothbrush/paste, shampoo, soap, small toys or books. Punch ribbons through the top and pass out to children in need. We gathered enough for the staff of the children’s shelter to hand out for one year of admissions, and it was wonderful to know that on that child’s arrival to a scary place, they’d be handed a small bag of cheer. It is so easy and fun to coordinate!
Zip Up the Warmth
This was a project I coordinated through my company to gather coats for children in one low-income apartment complex. We worked with a non-profit organization that was familiar with the kids, got index cards with each child’s name, gender and size. Each child received a new coat and a backpack the week before Thanksgiving.
Operation China Warm-Up
Gather sweaters for children in an orphanage and send overseas. You can even be the drop-off and then locate a non-profit who will ship the goods for you.
Don’t just wait for someone else to step up—the children of the world are the responsibility of everyone. Reach out and you will be the one who is blessed! If you do any of these, please write me and send me details so I can share and inspire others with your story!