FTSG Announces: 1,000 Detroit-Area Foster Children, Teens, & Families Served in 2014

The headline says it all – thanks to you, For The Seventh Generation was able to support more than 1,000 foster children, teens, and families in 2014.

ThankYouKids

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 115 served through our website, which works by matching online requests by foster care workers with the goods and services offered by members of our community
  • 303 foster children and families benefited not just from the 2014 Holiday Bazaar event, but from gifts we collected and distributed both before and afterwardvolunteers helping childrenEdit
  • 203 foster children and teens received winter coats courtesy of the Detroit and Grosse Pointe Rotary Clubs’ Operation Warm
  • 155 teens in foster care were able to go to Prom thanks to your contributions to the 2014 PromPalooza
  • 172 young ones received books to read over the summer through the Busy Bee Book Fair
  • 70 “shoppers” visited our Help Closet to pick up free items ranging from clothing to bedding — much of it brand new
  • 50 permanent wards of the court in Wayne County received orthodontic screening thanks to the University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Dentistry and the Detroit Health Department.
Meritor helped by clothing for foster teens in 2014!

Meritor helped by clothing for foster teens in 2014!

These miracles didn’t happen in a vacuum. In fact, FTSG is really just the conduit – we alert our wider community when foster children and teens are in need. But you are the ones who come forward to meet those needs.

And come forward you did – as businesses, organizations, and individuals. It is with deep gratitude that we send our thanks to:

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    • Every business and individual who sponsored the 2014 In Seventh Heaven. Grants will fund specific programs and items, but In Seventh Heaven keeps the doors open and the lights on (so to speak).
    • Shirley Roseman, who has literally taken For The Seventh Generation to the next level. Not only was she the Superwoman behind our Help Closet, but Shirley also pioneered our Holiday Bazaar, PromPalooza, and Busy Bee Book Fair events.
    • Individual businesses like S+R Event Rental, Kids’ Planet Resale, Costco, McDonald’s, Roy O’Brien Ford, Milano Bakery & Cafe, Better Made Snack Foods, Meritor, Happy Belly Bakery (and so many more), which provided individual requests and/or made one or more of our events possible.
    • Detroit-area nonprofits We’ve already mentioned the Detroit and Grosse Pointe Rotarians. But our area’s foster children have also benefited from the generosity of groups like Main Street League in Northville, the Foster Care Alumni of America/Michigan Chapter, the Detroit Optometric Society, the Joy of Jesus Christian Center, Bethel Lutheran Church, St. James Lutheran Church, the Brightmoor Tabernacle of Novi and Hospitality House of Walled Lake, and so many more.

In addition, we received grants from the Detroit Industrial School, the TJX Foundation, the Young Woman’s Home Association, and the Village Club Foundation – grants which allowed us to purchase desperately-needed beds.

  • …and, of course, we can’t forget the Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care or the Samaritan Center, which hosts our Help Closet without charging a cent.

Finally, though, we can’t say enough about individuals, like you, who have come forward to change the life of a child or teen in foster care. Here are just a few of the many, many people who did extraordinary things for “our” kids last year:

    • When our teens needed summer clothes, Mary Snell, the Minister of Family Life at 5.22.14 St. James Clothing Donation Shirley and Mary SnellSt. James, was one of many who came forward to be sure they were able to step out in style! (And speaking of the Spring/Summer clothing drive, let’s not forget the kickball tournament organized by Sara Richards and Shawn Franklin!)
    • Elyse Heidlebaugh purchased brand new beds and cribs, came through for two high school seniors and made it easier for a college student to move in, and was an all-round angel in so many ways, including contributing two posts to the FTSG blog
    • Jennifer Hichme has been another force of nature for “our” kids in foster care, purchasing beds and contact lenses, donating bedding, and more.

Kathy McComb of Dearborn purchased a brand new crib for a baby entering foster care. Thank you, Kathy!

  • When we posted an urgent need for a crib, Kathy McComb went out and bought a brand new one the very same day – and in doing so, made sure that an abused toddler and her baby sister were able to stay together with a loving relative in foster care.
  • …and we can’t forget Melissa Turner Covell, Christina Delpizzo, Jennifer H., Sharon M., Robert Thomas, Saba B., Debbie M. and her daughters Hannah and Shannon, all of whom stepped forward in a big way with donations of goods, services, or cash to help make miracles happen.

Looking Ahead – Serving Even More Foster Children & Teens in 2015

Now that it’s 2015, look for big changes here at For The Seventh Generation designed to serve even more foster children, teens and families:

Soon we’ll be introducing you to the team that’s come together to manage the Help Closet, facilitate donations, and more. (Why yes, we need a team to fill Shirley’s shoes – and no one who knows her would be surprised!)

We’re gearing up for this year’s In Seventh Heaven and PromPalooza … and we’ve got a special surprise for both that you’ll be hearing about this week!

So hold on to your hats, and get ready for a HUGE 2015!

Dearborn Woman Buys New Crib for Baby Entering Foster Care

One Crib, and Two Foster Children’s Lives are Changed…

I have always … truly believe[ed] that if a small gesture of kindness or opportunity is given to someone, it has the potential to multiply into great things. I hope that this crib is just the start of good things to come — for both the children their new foster mother.”

— Kathy McComb

Ed. note: This story happened in March 2014 – right in the midst of our preparations for In Seventh Heaven. We apologize to our wonderful donor and volunteer Kathy McComb for taking so long to acknowledge her generous gift!

In March of this year we received an urgent request from Shana Williams-Gordon of
GEE Edmonson Academy, a K-8 public school academy in Detroit:
A volunteer in her program needed a crib, and she needed it now.

Why? Because she was in the process of becoming a foster mother to her two cousins; a five year old girl and her baby sister. The abuse in these children’s original home was so horrific that the five year old may never walk normally again. 

Kathy McComb of Dearborn purchased a brand new crib for a baby entering foster care. Thank you, Kathy!

Kathy McComb of Dearborn purchased a brand new crib for a baby entering foster care. Thank you, Kathy!

Allowing their cousin to become the foster mother to both sisters would seem like a no-brainer, right?  However, there was a catch: Shana’s volunteer was already a mother of four, and she couldn’t afford to buy a crib – a crib that DHS required her to have in order to foster her baby cousin.

Unless someone donated a crib that week, the baby would be placed with a stranger – and the older girl, who had already suffered so much, would be separated from her sister.

We posted the request on our Facebook page in the hopes that a kind parent out there would be able to donate a nearly-new crib; maybe an extra one they’d received at their baby shower.

Instead, Kathy McComb of Dearborn emailed us the very same day and said she was planning to the store after work that evening to buy a brand new crib, and could we tell her whether the baby in need was a boy or a girl?

We were floored! And we had to ask Kathy why she stepped in to help so generously.

“I saw your post on Facebook,” she says, “and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I’m a single mother and raised my daughter (who is 17 now) by myself.”

“When she was a baby, times were very tough and money was extremely tight, and I never imagined that I would ever be able to make it.  Fortunately, I was given a job opportunity that really turned my life and the life of my child around. I have always been grateful for the chance that I was given, and truly believe that if a small gesture of kindness or opportunity is given to someone, it has the potential to multiply into great things. I hope that this crib is just the start of good things to come — for both the children their new foster mother.”

Sometimes we’re asked whether or not For The Seventh Generation makes any real difference in the lives of foster children, families, and teens. The truth is, though, that we’re just the conduit – in this case, Kathy McComb’s gift kept an abused five year old foster child and her sister together, and allowed them to make a fresh start with a loving family member.

And really, that’s all it takes: one gift or gift of service, one foster child (and sometimes more), and miracles happen. Miracles that will impact the foster child, that child’s eventual children, and onward … through the seventh generation.

Seventh Generation

474 Detroit-Area Foster Teens, Children, and Families Served in the 1st Half of 2014!

During our 2014 In Seventh Heaven gala, FTSG Executive Director Lorraine Weber vowed that our organization would double last year’s performance and serve 1,000 Detroit-area foster children, families, and teens in and aging out of the foster care system in 2014.

Elyse H. (shown w/Shirley Roseman) bought brand new cribs and beds for foster children!

Thanks to YOU, we’re practically halfway there!

In first half of this year, YOU provided the goods, services, and financial support for 474 of “our” foster kids and families:

Rennee looks fabulous in her new prom dress!

Renee looks fabulous in her new prom dress!

  • 44 served through our website;
  • 6 received late gifts from our 2013 Holiday Bazaar;
  • 34 visits to our Help Closet;
  • 75 young people received new coats thanks to the Rotary clubs of Grosse Pointe and Detroit’s joint effort, Operation Warm;
  • 143 foster teens received dresses, tux rentals, or other services during this year’s Prom Palooza; and
  • At least 172 foster children and teens received books, games, and movies during the Busy Bee Book Fair!

You have donated clothing, home repairs, cribs, beds, new glasses, music lessons, orthodontic care … the list goes on.

Thomas loves his new glasses -- thanks to Optical World of Detroit!

Thomas loves his new glasses — thanks to Optical World of Detroit!

And rest assured, you HAVE made a significant difference in the life of one foster child (or many foster children) … a difference that will be felt through the seventh generation.

Many Thanks to Many People, Companies for Helping “Our” Foster Kids & Families

Many, many individuals and companies deserve our thanks for being so generous to “our” foster children and families. A very partial list includes Kathy M., Elyse H., the Detroit Optometric Society and Optical World of Detroit, Sara Richards, Shawn Franklin, St. James Church of Grosse Pointe Farms, the Detroit and Grosse Pointe Rotary Clubs, the Detroit Rotary Foundation, and, of course, all of the generous sponsors of our April In Seventh Heaven event.

Our Busy Bee Book Fair offered books, games, and movies

Our Busy Bee Book Fair offered books, games, and movies

Looking Ahead — Serving “Our” Foster Children & Families for the Rest of 2014

During the next half of this year, we’ll provide you with chances to serve our area’s foster children, teens, and families with a Christmas in July preparation for – you guessed it – our annual December Holiday Bazaar for Foster Children; the annual school clothing and uniform drive; and the Holiday Bazaar itself, along with passing along the special requests we receive through our Facebook page and new e-newsletter.

But you don’t have to wait to be asked! Making a huge difference in the life of a metro Detroit area foster child, family, or teen is just a click away: register the good or service you want to donate here.

And/or if you want to support our overall efforts – getting out the word so people know what “our” kids need, matching donors to recipients, staffing the Help Closet – make a financial contribution today.

Anatomy of a Miracle: Detroit Optometrists Come Forward to Provide Special Glasses to a Young Man in Foster Care

Thomas Robertson in his glasses

Thomas Robertston loves his new glasses!

Near the end of May, FTSG’s Shirley Roseman received an urgent email about a young man in foster care who needed a new pair of glasses.

The problem? Thomas Robertson has a light-sensitivity problem, and Medicaid doesn’t reimburse for the transition lenses he needs. Not only that, but Thomas will be “aging out” of the foster care system in July, so we needed to find glasses for him quickly!

Fortunately, the metro Detroit community loves “our” kids in foster care – just put out the word, and the help comes poring in.

In this instance, we reached out to the Detroit Optometric Society – whose President, Michael J. Pack, DOS, immediately sent out an email to his members.

Thomas’ foster care worker, Anita Mikos, told us the response was overwhelming – within an hour, several optometrists had offered to come to Thomas’ rescue! According to Anita, “It would have taken me months of bureaucratic tightroping to get this foster youth his glasses if it wasn’t for your organization.”

Eventually, Anita made Thomas an appointment with Optical World in Detroit, which is partially owned by Dr. Lorne Gottessman. In an interview with FGSG after Thomas picked up his new glasses, Dr. Gottesman told us that his office is, “…always happy to help when we can, and we look forward to working with more of our community’s foster children and young adults.”

But most importantly, what does Thomas think?

“The new glasses are great!!” Thomas also asked us to thank everyone who worked to make it possible for him to have them.

And that’s what we’re doing right now: First — thank you, Anita, for reaching out to us and working so closely with us to help Thomas. Next, we’re overwhelmed by the generous help of the Detroit Optometric Society and Dr. Michael Pack, who took time away from his own practice to send out the alert.

And last but (far from) least, our gratitude goes out to Optical World of Detroit and Dr. Lorne Gottessman for being willing to help a foster youth in need on such short notice.

You Can Make a Huge, Positive Impact on the Life of a Foster Child!

Our area’s foster children, families, and teens both in and aging out of the foster care system have ongoing needs that aren’t being filled by our state’s Department of Human Services. Those needs include orthodontic care, clothing, books, furniture, housewares … the list is large, and the need is great.

What is also true, though, is that metro Detroiters always step up when we know that our kids in foster care need something. With that in mind, if you can volunteer a (new or nearly-new) good or a service ranging from music lessons to a haircut, please contact Help Closet Coordinator Shirley Roseman (helpcloset@detroitlawyer.org), register your gift on our website, or make a financial contribution. Whatever you do and whatever you give, you will make an impact that will last through the seventh generation.