THE FOSTER CARE COMMUNITy
Kris and her husband knew that supporting a family through the Love Box program was something they wanted to do, so they moved forward with the process and were matched with a family with five children. Kris shares, “Everything kind of started from there."
Shortly after being matched, Kris realized that not every month would look the same in terms of the support their family needed – "Some months they just might need a lot of snacks or board games, some months they might need time. Yesterday, for example, I took the two older kids for the afternoon to do some crafts, so the foster mom could have a little downtime while the young kids napped."
Love Box support can look like:
- Enrichment activities
- Encouraging notes
- Gift Cards/Gas Cards
- Household Supplies
- Meals and Groceries
- Clothes and Shoes
- Tutoring/Educational Support
...and so much more.
We believe that there is not a “one size fits all” solution to radically supporting children, youth, and families experiencing foster care, because everyone is different, and has unique interests and needs.
When Melanie and her team at Keller Williams Austin Northwest learned that 50% of the homeless population was in foster care at some point in their life, they knew they wanted to play a role in helping change that trajectory.
Melanie and her team have certainly made an impact––putting together hundreds of Love Boxes for fostering families in the greater Austin area and collecting school supplies for our back-to-school drive.
“I feel like it’s just our duty, and our privilege, and our honor to be able to give back to where we live, and I can’t think of a better cause than Austin Angels.”
Nate and Lindsey are foster and adoptive parents in our Love Box program.
Lindsey admits that being a foster parent gets lonely at times and to share this experience with their Love Box group means the world to them. They celebrate holidays together and have done many activities with the kids including kayaking, something that they would have never been able to do without their Love Box group.
"To have this family come alongside of us, whether it’s a phone call or a check-in, just the relationship that has been formed through our Love Box group has been incredible.”
One of Nate's favorite memories with their Love Box group was when they invited him, Lindsey, and their kiddos out to their cabin for the Fourth of July. They lit fireworks and were able to spend the night. Nate says "It was nice to have another family to do stuff with."
Nate and Lindsey's Love Box group has become their biggest cheerleaders by showing up every month to show support in any way they can. They allow the kids to go out and be active while also strengthening their friendship with Nate and Lindsey.
Meet Leslie and Jacquie, Love Box leaders since 2019. Both Leslie and Jacquie fell in love with the idea of the Love Box program right from the start - especially the fact that they would be able to build a relationship with the entire family.
“We loved that we would get to really be involved and not just always have to be behind the scenes.”
Leslie and Jacquie hoped to show the kids in their Love Box family that “there are a couple of other adults in their lives who care about them, and like to hear about them, and want to learn about them, and are thinking about them. Not just the two of us that get to be with the kids, but there’s a whole other group behind us that also care about them too.”
Though the support through most of 2020 was from afar, everyone is excited to spend time together again. Jacquie says, “They are appreciative, and at this point, it’s like meeting up with friends we know. We are going to get back to fun outings now that we are getting through the pandemic!”
For those who are interested in being a part of the Love Box program, but are nervous to take the leap, Leslie and Jacquie share, “We would highly recommend getting involved. It is so much fun, it’s so easy. You can do any level of involvement. It’s been really rewarding.”
Graduation is a HUGE milestone for every single youth, and for youth in foster care it's an even greater accomplishment. We know the dedication, tenacity, and focus it requires, and we know there are many people behind the scenes providing youth support to cross that finish line. This is why we want to celebrate our graduates in a HUGE way.
This year we put together incredible graduation boxes for our graduates. These boxes included things like affirmation cards, journals, pens, notebooks, planners, diploma frames, gift cards to Target and Amazon (plus a Visa gift card!), a personalized item for every single youth, and fun things like candy, an instant camera with accessories, and a laptop or an iPad (with a case to protect it). The youth were so surprised!
After Derrick opened his gift, he picked up a napkin and wiped his eyes. He told his case manager,
"My eyes! They're sweating!"
We are so proud of these five young adults for their hard work and perseverance. We know that great things are coming for them as they enter college and the workforce! Thank you for helping us make these gifts so incredible!