Giving Foster Children a Touch of Home
Posted 2017-04-18 by MCF
The Marietta Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council
(YAC) is well underway with their very first project. The YAC first met in
October 2016 and began working on identifying an area of need for their first philanthropic
project. Over a dozen members from Washington County high schools, Marietta, Belpre,
Warren and Fort Frye, worked together to establish their goal of helping area
foster children with the transition to new homes.
“They worked really hard to get the project together,” said Britani
Merritt, Office Manager of the Foundation and Youth Council Advisor. “Their
ability to identify these needs and establish a plan of action for the project
was truly impressive.”
With the help of the Marietta Community Foundation, the YAC
found invaluable partnerships that made their vision a reality. Council members
worked on building a proposal to secure funding for the purchase of duffel
bags, blankets, teddy bears, toothbrushes and other essentials through the
non-profit organization Together We Rise. The bags themselves can be decorated
for a personalized touch before being stuffed and delivered to incoming foster
children by Washington County Children’s Services.
The bags provide foster children with basic necessities they
might be missing and give them something to call their own. Bags also include
journals for each child with a letter from the YAC members. This personal touch
lends words of encouragement to foster children during a very difficult time.
It also allows members to connect with the foster children more directly by
lending a message of hope.
When drafting the letters, members worked with Washington
County Children’s Services to ensure that there were no issues with triggers as
the children receiving the bags have faced a variety of challenging issues.
Through this experience, YAC members gained a better understanding of the types
of problems the recipients of their giving face. It also ensures their good
intentions are not misplaced or diminished by a lack of perspective.
The YAC found funding for their project through partnering
with the Washington County Foster Families Foundation. A newer fund at the Marietta
Community Foundation, the Foster Families Foundation was established to assist
families with funding for activities like school athletics and other basic
needs for foster children.
The connections made by the YAC for this project have
directly lead to a fast turnaround for their goal to provide all incoming
foster children with a small slice of normalcy in an otherwise uncertain time. While
the Foundation itself serves a wide variety of needs, groups like the YAC and
funds like the Washington County Foster Families Foundation allow for targeted
giving that addresses needs in a different, targeted way.
“The Marietta Community Foundation is so proud of all of our
Youth Advisory Council members,” said Heather Allender, President and CEO. “We
are so happy to have the opportunity to help them with this project and have a
part in their journey as philanthropists.”