Our year is off to a great start
& picking up speed. We have had lots of volunteers coming to help organize our space and sort donations at our Kidz Closets, hosted a couple of events to raise awareness of our cause in the community, and held a special gathering on Easter Sunday at the Rays game of local foster families. We are looking forward to what this year will continue to bring, and new ways we can advocate for our children in the foster care system.
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This Is Foster Care
“My phone rang at 2:30 am. At first, I was asked to take one child of a sibling set. I responded that I can take both. Please don’t separate them. You have to think the worst thing for a child is to be taken from everything and everyone they know. All they have is that sibling.
Fortunately, Placement let me take both.
The call came that the person transporting was at the gate. I woke up my 18-year-old because I figured the arriving 3 and 4-year-old could be sleeping and I could slide them into the beds I prepared for them.
We opened the vehicle door and the stench hit us. The kids were picked up naked and now had clothes on that were drenched in urine. We took them up to the garden tub and made a game of attempting to get these babies clean. They soaked for a good 30 minutes. I tickled their feet as I scrubbed and scrubbed only to unsuccessfully still not have clean feet. The condition of their hair and skin is something that most of you reading this are pretty unfamiliar with.
They came with nothing due to the condition of the home. Fortunately, I was able to find clothing that fit.
We are now cuddled on the couch because the thought of bed made them cry. We are watching Nick Jr. The 3-year-old hasn’t said a word, yet her 4-year-old brother has been quite vocal and told me everything I need to know.
He told me, “I smell good but I miss my Mommy. I don’t want to be here.” I explained to him that I understand and I’m sure Mommy misses him too because I miss my babies when they aren’t with me.
Tonight reminds me why I do this.
Tonight makes me think of all the babies out there living in the same condition that these babies were living and scares me how many we don’t know about because of the way we are secluded right now.
It reminds me that if tears ever stop rolling when I see this, then it is time not to do this.
This is just so sad.”
– Written by Jenni Pal, local Foster Parent
Past Event News & Highlights
Thank you Aripeka Elks Lodge for hosting our Corn Hole Tournament fundraiser. Special thanks to Tanner Volz for organizing the event and to Todd Twardowski and Ronnie Castro for running the tournament. We had many winners of gift baskets, cornhole sets, and a cash grand prize.
USF Foster Alum PEARLS Graduation
The journey from foster care to adulthood is extraordinarily difficult. That’s why USF calls their foster alum “PEARLS” - beauty forged out of hardship and pressure. On a day like this, when we get a front-row seat to resilience, perseverance, and triumph, OUR VILLAGE REJOICES! Congratulations to all the foster alum PEARLS for earning their degrees at USF. We are so proud of you.
A special thank you to Holly Lazo, for inviting us to attend front row to this event.
Florida Youth SHINE Children’s Week
Our Florida Youth SHINE members spent the week in Tallahassee meeting with legislators and advocating for a bill that would increase foster youth’s knowledge of their benefits and rights. Good job young advocates!
Tampa Bay Ray’s Community Engagement
Thank you to the Tampa Bay Ray’s Community Engagement for hosting our foster families in the Big Game James Club suite on Easter Sunday. What a great memory for our kids!
“Seeing all of the kids have fun, play together, and get along was something very special. When the game ended there were a handful of kids who came up to us, (Mike & Heather) hugged us, and said “thank you” because they had fun today, and most had never been to a baseball game before so it was a great first experience for them.
This made us feel extra appreciation towards you and FHF and all of the amazing work everyone does. Thank you for allowing us to be included in this amazing organization and thank you for all of the incredible, thankless work you do every single day.” - Heather Strassel
Happenings In Our Community
In The News
Ways You Can Support Us
Support our mission and our Kidz Closets by rounding up your purchases when you shop online at Walmart. Log into your Walmart account, go to the Account page and select "Giving & Impact" and select Fostering Hope Florida as your charity of choice.
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