How Fostering Christmas Helps Foster Youth Year-Round
Christmas is so central to our organization’s work that the holiday is a part of our name. But everyone at Fostering Christmas also knows the need doesn’t end once the festive decorations are put away. Children and adolescents in foster care face challenges year-round, and we try to help them overcome as many as possible.
One way we provide support is by working with RISE, an organization that contracts with the Department of Health & Welfare. RISE provides wide-ranging services, including work with older foster children and those who have just left foster care.
There is still plenty of time before Christmas, so we have more plans up our sleeve.
Whitney is the case manager for the independent living group, and she helps older children and young adults who have left foster care. Unlike most youth, these former foster kids usually don’t have family support in their early adulthood. “They are looking for additional resources for stability,” Whitney explains. “They’re navigating what it looks like to be an adult.” She helps young adults find housing, access medical care, find ways to pay for school, and more.
In late 2022, Whitney began working with a young woman who had experienced two and a half years of housing instability after aging out of the foster care system. “She really struggled to find a safe spot that she could depend on,” Whitney remembers. “Through some work together, we were able to solidify a safe and positive housing situation for her.”
It was a monumental moment and deserved celebration. But the youth lacked a suitable bed for her new home. While searching for resources this May, a social worker introduced Whitney to Fostering Christmas and asked for our assistance. We used available funding to purchase a bed and bedding, which we delivered to the young woman’s new home. “It was such a huge deal for her to have those things for herself after so many years,” Whitney says.
We considered it an honor to help give this young woman the leg up she deserved — and she’s only one of the youths we’ve supported outside the Christmas season. More recently, we helped a soon-to-be college student in extended foster care secure the basics she needed to start her first semester.
Through the help of four generous donors, we secured $750 to buy the textbooks, school supplies, and dorm basics she needed to start college on the right foot. We want to thank everyone who stepped up to make this possible!
There is still plenty of time before Christmas, so we have more plans up our sleeve. In addition to meeting ad-hoc needs whenever possible, we’ll follow up our May Hygiene Drive with another fundraiser soon. Stay tuned for more details, and thank you again for all your support!