Giving Foster Children the Gift of a Beautiful Smile

It was a brisk, cold April day outside, but inside there was nothing but warm, welcoming smiles for the first group of metro Detroit foster children and teens to be seen by a new program courtesy of the University of Detroit Mercy’s Orthodontics program, the Detroit Department of Human Services and For The Seventh Generation.

The program, which was facilitated by For The Seventh Generation Executive Director Lorraine Weber, will provide orthodontic services for Wayne County children and teens who are permanent wards of the court – in other words, young people who have been permanently removed from their birth parents for their own safety and well being. Thirty-one young people were served during the initial screening on April 5. Future plans include outreach to private agencies and a continuing schedule for new candidates to be evaluated and treated.

The Postgraduate Orthodontics department is a program of University of Detroit Dr. Richard Kulbersh, Department Chair in Orthodontics April 5Mercy’s School of Dentistry. The head of the department, Dr. Richard Kulbersh (shown here, working with one of the children being screened), was among the faculty and students who worked with the foster children on April 5.

It’s embarrassing enough for a child or teen to feel unable to smile or to eat properly because her or his teeth aren’t aligned correctly. Imagine how that same situation feels to a young person who has already seen more than their share of hardship – more than many adults ever see – and you’ll know just why this program is so important.

We’d like to thank Dr. Kulbersh along with his faculty, staff, and students, Sheila Roberts of the Detroit DHS, and everyone else who are working together to give foster children and teens in our area the gift of a beautiful smile!

Meanwhile, we are still looking for orthodontists to work with children and teens who are in temporary foster care throughout the metro Detroit area. If you can help, please sign up on our easy-to-use-website today!

Spanning the Generations — Senior Moving Company Donates to FTSG’s Help Closet

Over this past winter For The Seventh Generation’s Help Closet Coordinator, Shirley Roseman, put out a call for beds and bedding for several metro Detroit-are foster children and families.

Photo courtesy fmgbain via FlickrOur Help Closet is relatively new, having just opened within the past year, so we’re still building partnerships and putting ourselves on the map of potential places that make these kinds of donations. With that in mind, we were worried about how quickly we’d be able to fill the requests and make sure “our” foster kids had a comfortable place to sleep.

Fortunately for those metro foster children and families, Moving Forward  and the Park West Gallery Foundation  stepped up to the plate to help.

Moving Forward  is a small company in Highland, Michigan that helps elders when it comes time to downsize their living situation. When seniors decide it’s time to move to a smaller home, an apartment, or an assisted living facility, Moving Forward takes care of everything – literally, from packing and unpacking to putting knick-knacks where they belong on the right shelves and setting clocks to the correct time.

IMG_8515In addition, they help seniors by disposing of anything the elders can’t or don’t want to bring to their new home – and that’s where the Park West Gallery Foundation  came in. The Foundation, which focuses on young adults in foster care and transitioning out of foster care, made a pickup at Moving Forward’s  warehouse – and took extra to drop off at the FTSG Help Closet.

“We literally rent a U-Haul three times a week,” to pick up donations for older foster youth, said Park West Gallery Foundation Program Director Saba Gebrai, “so it was no trouble to make a delivery to the Help Closet in addition to our usual round.” In fact, the Park West Gallery has been a long-time supporter of For The Seventh Generation, including sponsoring our yearly In Seventh Heaven fundraising event.

Moving Forward founder and owner LouAnne Audette told us that her clients are thrilled when they hear that their belongings are going directly to young people who need assistance. “They like it so much better than having us donate to the Salvation Army or other charities where people then have to pay for the items,” she explained. “This way they know they’re giving a real gift, and it makes them feel wonderful.”

Young adults in foster care and youth aging out of the foster care system need all sorts of furnishings, home appliances, and all of the little extras that most of us take for granted. While the Department of Human Services does what it can, the fact is that it can’t do very much to give these at-risk youth the kind of transition to adulthood that all young people deserve. If you can follow in the footsteps of Moving Forward, please consider making a donation of goods, services – or funds – to For The Seventh Generation today by clicking here.

Photos Vicky’s new bed and Bed Jumping courtesy of fmgbain and misspixels via Flickr