year 2, week 13: this week i'm gonna... support abused and neglected children.
Meet Desiree. She is one of the most outgoing 10 year-olds you will ever meet. When asked if she was shy, she laughed - the answer is most definitely "no."
Desiree likes to sing, rap, and dance, and her favorite color is glitter. She loves animals and she writes her own poetry. Desiree thinks she has been in foster care for too long, and she can't wait to find her forever family.
Unfortunately, there are thousands more children like Desiree across the country that do not have a home or a family. This year, Child Protective Services (CPS) in central Texas had to turn offices into bedrooms to accommodate all the children in need.
To combat this problem, Partnerships for Children connects children with new families through their Heart Gallery. They work with professional photographers in the community who donate their time and talents to take and display pictures of children under the care of CPS. The kids are mostly teenagers and siblings, some of the hardest children to find forever families for. The Gallery is available for viewing online, and also travels around local businesses that offer to host the portraits, sometimes for just one day, sometimes for weeks or even months at a time.
The children in these portraits live in anticipation of what the future may or may not hold for them: a family. The Heart Gallery captures the extraordinary spirit of young people, and gives real faces to the children waiting to be adopted. “They need a home. They need a family. So we really want to promote foster care and adoption in our community," said Kori Gough, Executive Director of Partnerships for Children.
Founded in 2003, Partnerships for Children works to bridge the gap between limited government resources and the critical needs of Central Texas children under the care of Child Protective Services (CPS). They work to empower and support over 12,000 abused and neglected children every year. Partnerships for Children facilitates private sector support to help meet caseworker and client needs through five core programs:
- The Rainbow Room - a 24/7 resource center located within the CPS offices where caseworkers can gather new and essential items for the kids in their caseload whose lives are in crisis
- The Youth Empowerment and Success (YES) Program - strives to improve youths’ self-esteem and enhance their ability to make responsible decisions through training, mentoring, and financial support
- Holiday Wishes Program - works to create memories for children served by CPS; each child submits three wishes that are fulfilled through the generosity and support of the community
- The Heart Gallery - features children who are waiting for adoption in an art exhibit and community education/outreach initiative
- Caseworker Appreciation Program - hopes to decrease caseworker turnover and show gratitude for their work through quarterly appreciation events such as Coffee and Donuts, Movies in March, and Ice Cream Socials
You can learn more about Partnerships for Children in the video below.
Christina Masters went to the Heart Gallery two years ago and saw a picture of three siblings. “These three children from the picture ... I kept seeing (them) over and over,” she states. A few days after seeing them in the Gallery, she saw the same children at the courthouse. "It was fate," Christina says, and she became a foster mom to the three children.
“I couldn’t help it in that moment. It just made my heart beat a lot faster and I felt it was something I needed to act upon,” said Christina.
That experience is one Partnerships for Children hopes to replicate again and again for as many families as they can.
Notes for this week:
- National Love Our Children Day is April 1st!
- Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor Heart Gallery photo sessions for approximately four children seeking a forever family.
- For more information regarding Partnerships for Children, please check out their website.
this week i'm gonna donate to Partnerships for Children.