“The Mission of the Foundation for Foster Children is to enrich the lives of children placed in foster care due to abuse and neglect by providing opportunities that nurture their ability to succeed both as individuals and contributing members of our community.”
In late 2006, a small group of friends, with a wealth of community volunteer experience, came together in an effort to understand the unmet needs of children in foster care. During a 15 month process of research and review, the Foundation for Foster Children’s founding board of directors conducted extensive research to determine the unmet needs of foster children in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. In September 2007, the Foundation for Foster Children was created.
The Foundation for Foster Children strengthens our community by providing direct support to foster children and foster families in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, where there are approximately 1400 ethnically diverse foster children residing. Since 2008, the Foundation has provided funding and in-kind support for the unmet needs of these youth through five main programs. In the last fiscal year, over 4,500 granted opportunities were awarded through one of these incredibly important programs:
- Fostering Success Grants- This program was established to provide ways for foster children to participate in athletic programs, the arts, educational opportunities and/or assist in providing the typical childhood experiences from which to build positive life experiences that would otherwise be unaffordable.
- B.E.S.T. – (Building Educational Success Together) This tutoring program provides children in foster care individualized, intensive in-home tutoring 1-2 times per week.
- Emergency Duffels/ Luggage- Provides foster children coming into care or transitioning into a new home with basic personal hygiene items and age-appropriate items. This also ensures youth do not move their belongings in trash bags, but can move using luggage with DIGNITY.
- Housewarming Baskets- Foster youth turning 18 receive a laundry basket filled with linens and household items to aid as they move into independence.
- Celebration Club- Celebrates foster children’s often forgotten special day with a custom cake and birthday gift.
- Transition to Adulthood: For foster youth aged 17-23, direct support & volunteer mentors are provided to help youth make the transition to adulthood successfully.
Statistics show that participation in programs like these teaches independence, builds self esteem and inspires confidence in the lives of children who too often feel forgotten and unimportant. While these children are considered ‘wards of the state’, funds to support typical childhood experiences, activities and educational enrichment for foster youth are not readily available from government sources. It is our joy and honor to be able to serve these children each and every day.