Everyone deserves a chance.
Whether it’s a girl from Jersey City who walked around believing no one cared about the decisions she made until a teacher told her he did, or a boy born addicted to drugs because his birth mother used while she was pregnant, everyone deserves an opportunity to be more than their beginnings.
That’s true for foster children, whose stories often start with tales of neglect or abuse. Their lives often begin with experiences of disappointment, physical violence or emotional cruelty. Their formative years, which for most are spent among loving family members, are instead spent taking care of their siblings and fending for themselves.
Although foster parents do their best to love and care for children in their home, for some foster teens the scars of the past are often too much.
“It honestly felt like I was a prisoner no matter where I was,” one foster teen said. “No one knows, but eventually I started to become emotionally and psychologically ruined.”
These unimaginable beginnings can give way to predictable endings, a cycle of foster children producing children of their own who, in turn, have to go into foster care. And, in some cases, it’s because these foster teens weren’t given a chance, an opportunity to dream bigger, to pursue educational prospects, to become the people they wanted to be.
“It all started with someone believing in me,” another foster teen said. “From there my future became as easy as following the yellow brick road.”
That’s what embrella’ #FosterAChance fundraiser is about. It’s about taking a moment out of your day, remembering someone who helped give you a chance to become who you are today, and paying it forward in the form of a $10 donation.
#FosterAChance is about giving an opportunity to someone who needs it. A donation of $10 goes a long way in paying for a grant that creates an opportunity for a young person to succeed in the next phase of his or her life. This might include higher education, additional training, trade school, vocational school, and/or independent living.
The money is important to allowing foster teens to achieve their dreams. If you can’t foster a teen, you can still help change a teen’s life by donating.
But just as important is what a donation means to foster teens. For those who grew up in households with no support, it means someone out there believes in them. Someone, a complete stranger, believes they are worthwhile, that they can be something and that they can make a difference.
Your donation isn’t just $10, it’s an investment in the future of those who believed they didn’t have one.
And for some foster teens, that can make all the difference.
“I want to save people’s lives for the rest of my life,” a former scholarship winner said. “After I finish undergraduate school, I want go to NYU Medical School and study medicine. These scholarships will strongly benefit me by leading me into the right direction; it will help me prepare for the beginning of my career.”
Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.