Friday, September 25, 2015

TGIF - Together We Rise

There are approximately 400,000 children in the foster care system across the United States. An estimated 1,200 children enter the system every day. It’s terrifying, heartbreaking, frustrating, and just about the only thing more upsetting than entering the foster care system, for most children, is the situation they came out of to get into the system. There is no way that being without a permanent home can be easy for a child.

Together We Rise is a non-profit organization made up of college students and young volunteers whose goal is to do what they can to make it easier. The organization was founded in 2008 after the group of students discovered that the 9-year-old cousin of a classmate was living in a car, and then discovering that there were almost no traditional methods for young people to help. In just seven years, these “young, ambitious, humanitarians, artists, and students” have set about to change the rules, and make life better for as many foster children as they can.

The subject actually came up during our licensing class last week. We were doing a role playing exercise concerning what it was like to be a child being removed from the home, and it was noted that the situation often entails a caseworker needing the child (or someone who can help the child) to quickly pack some belongings into whatever carrying device might be handy (pillowcase, backpack, trash bag, etc.). We were asked, concerning the entire exercise, what thoughts we had on how this process could be improved, and this “whatever carrying device might be handy” issue was quickly seized upon by several of us in the class. This is a horrible situation for the child, and there is almost no way to make it not be horrible, but asking the child to throw his clothes and precious belongings into a trash bag can’t help. Why can’t the caseworker at least bring a small bag? It’s a little thing, but imagine the difference!

So we looked into it, and found someone who donated backpacks, among other things. Last week, according to their Facebook page, Together We Rise took 200 foster children to Disneyland. We who are so grown up and so serious about taking care of all of the serious things that seriously do need to be taken care of can sometimes forget the simple detail that these are children. They need a smile and comfort as much as they need all of the legal paperwork and forms signed in triplicate. And they need to know that things that are precious to them don’t belong in trash bags.

Together We Rise is all about volunteers and donations. If you can help, I know they would appreciate it. Even more, the children they help would appreciate it. I can tell you, as a dad working through the foster system, we appreciate it too. Thank you.

We here at Frequently Interrupted have established a Suitcases campaign with Together We Rise, raising funds to donate suitcases to children in foster care. If you can help out, we would greatly appreciate it.

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