Giving Foster Children a Bed to Call Their Own

For The Seventh Generation has provided over 100 beds and cribs to foster families in need

Sleeping SilviaVinas

When people are expecting a child through pregnancy, the key word is, “expecting.” Even people who are surprised by a pregnancy have nine months to get the necessities together: diapers, clothing, and a crib for the baby to sleep in.

Foster children, on the other hand, are frequently unexpected: family members get a call at midnight telling them that a young relative needs a home right now.

At the same time, Michigan’s foster care system requires foster parents to provide the basics, and provide them soon – frequently within days – but the system doesn’t provide the funds to make the larger purchases possible.

 

Which brings us to For The Seventh Generation’s bed program for foster children.  Since January of 2014, the generous support of our funders has allowed us to provide 122 twin beds, 33 cribs, 33 bunk beds, and 4 full beds for foster families in need.

Sometimes, these beds and cribs made it possible for siblings to stay together. Others, a new bed or crib was the difference between a child living with family members or with complete strangers while in foster care. And in other cases, we helped make it possible for children in foster care to go back home to their parents.

After all, foster children are dealing with enough already. They deserve a bed of their own. They also deserve to stay with their siblings, and whenever possible to stay with relatives or family friends who already know them.

Most of all, when their parents – or new, adoptive parents are ready – to take them home, “our” children in foster care shouldn’t have to wait until there’s enough money to buy a bed for them to sleep in.

With all of this in mind, we’d like to thank the funders who have helped “our” foster children sleep snug in their own beds night after night:

These funders purchased beds and cribs for our foster children. Meanwhile, Gardner White and Hayneedle provided significant discounts so our bed program budget went further. And volunteers from Morse Moving (along with many other, individual volunteers) have provided the “muscle” we needed to get these beds delivered.

For The Seventh Generation has provided almost two hundred beds in just under two years, but the need is still great.

Virtually every day and night, foster parents – and people who never expected to be foster parents – are being contacted by foster care workers asking if they can take in a child.

And virtually every week, we get a request for a bed or a crib so a foster child can have a home.

Volunteers Cullen Christopher Dana Realms Ena Ausbrooks help get new beds to foster children, October 2015

Volunteers Cullen Christopher Dana Realms Ena Ausbrooks help get new beds to foster children, October 2015

We’ll continue looking for grants to fund this program – in the meantime, though, please make a gift of $50, $100, $150 or more to help us purchase beds and other emergency items for Detroit-area foster children. Your support will make a huge difference in the life of a child!

From One Child to Another – Trombly Elementary School Comes Through for Metro Detroit’s Foster Children

…it’s powerful to have one child buy something they love to give to another child.
-Walter Fitzpatrick, Principal, Trombly Elementary

Last month, the students at Grosse Pointe Park’s Trombly Elementary did something very special.

The small school, with only 270 children, collected 332 brand new clothing items to Detroit-area foster children during their annual “Valen-Twin” charity drive!

FTSG Volunteer Ena Moor picking up the Trombly donation

FTSG Volunteer Ena Moor picking up the Trombly donation

The President of Trombly’s Parent-Teacher Organization, Michele Lindsay, said that they selected For The Seventh Generation for this year’s efforts because, “…your mission aligns with one of our PTO’s primary goals of helping our students become better global citizens. At Trombly we have a strong history of peer-to-peer service programs and the Valen-Twin concept fits right in with the ideal of kids helping kids.”

This year’s “Valen-Twin” instructions were simple: the children were asked to purchase something that they would like to wear to donate to a Detroit-area foster child. And they definitely responded! When everything was counted there were seventy tops, fifty-seven “bottoms” (pants/jeans/skirts/etc.), ninety-two pairs of underwear, ten pairs of shoes, and much, much more.

According to Trombly Principal Walter Fitzpatrick,

Our theme for these drives is ‘Just Like Me’ – we try to find the children opportunities to help children like themselves so they can relate. Having them donate to adults just isn’t the same, but it’s powerful to have one child buy something they love to give to another child.

How do Trombly’s students feel about their efforts? Let them tell you in their own words:

It was good, because I was able to give someone an outfit who didn’t have one.

I was happy for the kids. They can have clothes like we have!

I was happy for the kids. They can have clothes like we have!

It felt good to donate clothes to people who had to dress in the same clothes every day.

I was happy for the kids. They can have clothes like we have!

All too often, metro Detroit’s foster children arrive at their new homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs – or, at best, a garbage bag filled with some hastily thrown-together possessions.

To make matters worse, the system only pays a fraction of what it actually costs to send a child to school looking and feeling their best.

But thanks to the children, PTO, and staff of Trombly Elementary, many of “our” kids in foster care will be able to fit in with their friends – and shine.

Metro Detroit’s foster children and teens constantly need clothing, shoes, and other items that most of us are fortunate enough to take for granted. But you can make a huge difference with just one donation! Register your donation of new/nearly-new clothing or other items on our website. Or simply drop by our Help Closet.

Or, make a cash donation and we’ll do the shopping for you as needs arise.

Just do one thing for a single foster child, and you’ll change that child’s life for the better. And that’s why For The Seventh Generation exists — to help you make that difference.

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!

Help ‘Our’ Kids Stay With Their Families While in Foster Care

By Elyse Heidlebaugh

Imagine going through this as a child or teen: Through no fault of your own, you’re being taken away from your parents – and, quite possibly, separated from your siblings. You’ve got nothing but the clothes on your back and possibly a hastily-packed trash bag with a few of your things. And a strange adult, whom you may or may not even know well, tells you that you’re going into foster care.

But what does that mean? Where are you going, and who will you live with? Just what does “foster care” mean for the Michigan children and teens who are effectively being raised by the state?

Children and teens being placed in foster care aren’t the only ones with questions – a lot of us adults aren’t clear about what’s involved either.

So let’s take a look at the four kinds of foster care placement. And then talk about what we

A bed or crib can be the difference between living with your family or a stranger while in foster care!

A bed or crib can be the difference between living with your family or a stranger while in foster care!

can do to support the best possible option – family placements.

1. “Traditional” Foster Families

For most people, the term “foster care” invokes images of strangers opening up their homes to kids in need, or “non-relative foster family placement.” However, only 32% of Michigan’s foster kids enter into this form of care.

This may seem like a great outcome. After all, the people who sign up to be foster parents must really love children, right? Well, of course – but the fact is, the situation is complicated:

First, imagine being sent to live with strangers and told that you need to follow their rules.

These people, no matter how kind, may not live in the same neighborhood as your birth parent/s – so everything is strange to you.

Your foster parents may or may not be the best “fit” for you. You may be a tomboy and be sent to live with adults who have strict ideas about gender roles, for example. Or maybe they don’t practice the same religion, or hate the foods you’re used to, or any number of other factors that leave you feeling very much like a total outsider.

Finally, your first placement will almost certainly not be your last. In other words, you’re going to have to get used to new adults, new rules, and new everything else over and over again.

Sound depressing? Wait – because, if you go into foster care at age 16 or older, you may well be one of the sixteen percent of Michigan foster teens (Thirty-six percent nationally) who end up being placed in a group home with anywhere from seven-twelve other children.

Group Homes

While the vast majority of adults who own, manage, and operate group homes for foster children and teens are wonderful people, the fact remains that such a placement is about as far from a family upbringing as a child can get.

Try to imagine this setting: You’re a teenager who’s been taken away from your family and sent to live, not with another family, but with an ever-changing group of strange adults and children in an institutional setting. Not only does living this way make you really different from the other kids at school — it also means that when you “age out” you’re even less likely to have any kind of supportive safety net.

“Other” Placements

And what happens if you decide you’re tired of living with different foster families or in an institution? In Michigan, that means you’re likely to end up as one of the seventeen percent of foster children/teens living in what’s called “other” placements.

HomelessTeenSmallOn the scariest end of the scale, you may have run away and are couch-surfing or worse, living on the street. Or, you may be relatively lucky and have an independent living situation; meaning that you’re on your own but receive some financial support from the state.

If you haven’t run away from foster care and aren’t in an independent living situation, chances are you’ve found the best possible world – you’re living with a family that’s eager to adopt you.

In other words, most of the scenarios faced by Michigan’s foster children, and particularly teens in foster care, are challenging to say the least! They involve a revolving-door of strange care-givers and all too often grow up to face the outcomes we’ve all heard about – an inability to complete school or find a decent job, homelessness, and incarceration.

Now, let’s imaging something drastically different:

The Best Foster Care Option – ‘Kinship-Relative’ Foster Care

In this scenario you’re still being taken away from your home by a social worker. But now, the social worker is driving you somewhere that’s already familiar to you.

And when you arrive, a loving family member is there to greet you.

Yes, you’re still in foster care – but your family identity is intact. You feel safe because Black mother with childyou know your new “parent/s” already know and love you. Best yet, while they may live differently than you’re used to, you probably already have an idea of what they expect of you.

When you age out, you’re also far more likely to receive ongoing support from your foster family — because, after all, you’re family.

Currently Michigan finds family placements for just thirty-six percent of our children and teens in foster care. We can and must do better.

And that’s where you and I come in.

How?

By donating the items that families need when they get that last-minute call saying that one of their youngest members needs a new place to stay.

Specifically, I’m talking about children’s and teens’ beds, and cribs.

For one thing, a bed or crib can determine whether a foster child or teen ends up with a family or complete strangers. And for another, ask yourself what would make you feel most secure – sleeping on a couch or air mattress, or having a bed of your own?

The challenge is that beds and cribs are expensive. Few families can afford to go out and purchase one or more of them on the last-minute notice that is so frequently the case when a child or teen is taken into foster care.

For The Seventh Generation faces ongoing, urgent requests for beds and cribs from foster care workers who desperately want to place foster children and teens with loving family members. I am among the many people and institutions who have come together to provide our most vulnerable children with a place to sleep, but we need your help to continue to filling this essential need!

Elyse, Shirley Roseman, and the new children's beds that Elyse donated last summer. Thank you, Elyse!

Elyse, Shirley Roseman, and the new children’s beds that Elyse donated last summer. Thank you, Elyse!

Please consider visiting the “current needs” link on For The Seventh Generation’s website. I guarantee you’ll see several requests for beds and/or cribs! Ask yourself if you can provide a bed, crib, mattress, or bedding for a child or teen in foster care today.

And if the entire cost of a bed or crib is too much, please make a financial contribution that FTSG can use to purchase these and other essential items.

After all, home is where the heart is – not where the bed is. With your help, we can make sure metro Detroit’s foster children get to keep all three together. Let’s follow their hearts so that in what every way possible, we can get and keep “our” kids at home.

Source: acef.org “data snapshot on foster care placement” (2011)

Elyse HeidlebaughElyse Heidlebaugh is a long-time FTSG supporter who is definitely walking her talk –among other things, she has personally purchased several brand-new beds and cribs for foster children! We’re very grateful for everything Elyse has done for “our” kids, including her wonderful blog posts.

Do Just One Thing and YOU Can Lower the Poverty Rate, Prevent Homelessness, and Keep People Out of Prison

By Elise Heidlebaugh

(Ed. Note: This is the first in a series of posts by FTSG super-volunteer and donor Elyse Elyse HeidlebaughHeidlebaugh. Elyse is eager to start a conversation, so comments are open on this post but will be moderated to keep the spam level to a dull roar.)

Warning: This blog post may make you feel as though you’ve downed one too many Red Bulls. Other symptoms might include a ‘save the world’ complex and a determination to change our community that’ll beat like a war drum inside your chest.

Your life may never be the same again.

Are you ready? Because I’m about to give you THE secret to drastically reducing homelessness, incarceration and poverty.  Learning this secret transformed my life, and I hope it does the same for you.

Before we get to the secret, though, you need to know the following:

There are approximately 500,000 children and teens in foster care nationwide, and about 13,000 here in Michigan. When they age out of the system:

  • 51% will be unemployed
  • One-third will be on public assistance
  • 25% [will]become homeless …, and
  • 25% will be incarcerated.**
There's a good chance that this woman is a former foster child

There’s a good chance that this woman is a former foster child

This information may well want to make you literally explode. You’re probably as shocked and furious as I was to learn that so many of “our” children, children who have already been neglected or abused to the point of having to go into foster care, aren’t receiving the support they need to become healthy, contributing adults.  Or, as the National Commission on Children put it in 1991:

From Foster Care to Jail Cell -- but there is a solution!

From Foster Care to Jail Cell — but there is a solution!

“If the nation had deliberately designed a system that would  frustrate the professionals who staff it, anger the public who finance it, and abandon the  children who depend on it, it could not have done a better job than the present child-welfare  system.”**

 

 

But no matter how shocked or furious you are, you may also feel overwhelmed. And that’s where the secret comes in:

The only thing each of us needs to do to have an impact on poverty, homelessness, and our overcrowded jail system (and become a real, legit superhero) is to make a difference in the life of one foster child or teen! And if you want to earn a cape to go along with your superhero suit, convince one of your friends, co-workers, or family members to do the same.

Can you see where I’m going here? Is your mind blown yet? Let me blow it for you just a bit more:

Making a positive impact on the life of one of our area’s foster children or teens is easy.

Detroit Rotarian Ray Opezzo serving up the popcorn.

Detroit Rotarian Ray Opezzo at an FTSG Holiday Bazaar for Foster Children

Here’s just a few examples:

* Donate new/nearly new school clothing or supplies to this year’s School Clothing & Uniform Drive for Foster Children and Teens;
* Provide a teen or child in foster care with a new pair of glasses;
* Sign up to teach guitar (or pretty much any instrument) to a foster child for one year at a reduced rate;
* If you’re an orthodontist or dentist who does orthodontic work, provide one service to one child or teen in foster care for just a single year.

Believe me,  I share your anger at the system that creates such bleak outcomes for “our” kids. I share your passion to right the wrongs. Most importantly though, I share your immense hopefulness. Because if we each focus our powers on making a positive difference in the life of just one foster child or teen, we will give “our” kids the boost they need to avoid  homelessness, incarceration, and poverty.

We can prevent the sort of baggage that creates a lifetime of struggle.

Now that you know how easy it is to serve a foster child or teen, and by doing so make a huge impact on our area’s poverty, homelessness, and incarceration rates, let’s latch on to For The Seventh Generation with both hands and start changing lives, one metro-Detroit foster child at a time.

Till next time, please carry on the conversation…

ThankYouKids

 

** Source: DISRUPTING THE PATHWAY FROM FOSTER CARE TO THE
JUSTICE SYSTEM—A FORMER PROSECUTOR’S
PERSPECTIVES ON REFORM by Miriam Aroni Krinsky

Available as a .PDF here.

Photos of the homeless woman and the jail cell courtesy  Rob Slaven and Fernando Silviera via Flickr

‘I love this book!” Foster Children’s Book Fair a Huge Success

With the help of our very generous donors, For The Seventh Generation’s first Busy Bee Book Fair for Detroit-area foster children and teens served over 170 young people as part of the Wayne County Department of Human Service’s Summer Safety ExtravaParents and children line upganza on June 18.

FTSG’s Help Closet Coordinator Shirley Roseman had this to say about the afternoon:

The excitement they expressed when they found out the books were free and they could take what they wanted was worth a thousand words.

Many other children will benefit from the remaining books because we left them with DHS to distribute to those who couldn’t make it today.

Many thanks to everyone who donated a book, game, or movie, tRelax and Read Signo our wonderful volunteers, and to Wayne County DHS for making room for us at your event!

Donated books

Weekly Wish List — Books & Beds (and cribs!) For Foster Kids Edition:

This week (and through June 13) we’re collecting books — particularly books for teens — teensreadingby circulationfor our Busy Bee Book Fair For Foster Kids, which will take place on June 18 as part of Wayne County DHS’s “Summer Safety Extravaganza.”

In addition, we’re facing a critical, ongoing shortage of beds and cribs. These items are vitally important and can make the difference between a foster child being placed with a family member or with a total stranger.

(New/nearly-new books, beds & cribs only, please.)

Sleeping SilviaVinas

If you can help please contact Help Closet Coordinator Shirley Roseman at helpcloset@detroitlawyer.org — and please tell your friends!

 

Grosse Pointe Farms Church Comes Through for Foster Teens

Large Donation of Designer Clothing and Accessories Supports Our Spring/Summer Foster Teen Clothing Drive

When Mary Snell read about our Spring/Summer Foster Teen Clothing Drive in Metro Parent Magazine, she and her congregation began collecting spring and summer clothing for Detroit-area foster teens.

Shirley Roseman and Mary Snell

Shirley Roseman and Mary Snell at the Help Closet May 20, 2014

On Tuesday, May 20, Mary — who serves as the Minister of Family Life at St. James — delivered several bags of donated items to our Help Closet, just in time for a few foster parents to come in and “shop” for their teens.

Mary and her congregation made sure that “our” teens in foster care will be able to enjoy the spring and summer in style with gently-used clothing and accessories from designers including Nike, Forever 21, Ralph Lauren, Steve Madden, and Coach.                    5.22.14 St. James Donation included new and designer labels

“Michigan’s Department of Human Services can only provide foster parents with a very small yearly budget for clothing and shoes for teens — hardly enough for them to be able to purchase the kind of nice clothes that help foster teens fit in with their peers,” explained Help Closet Coordinator Shirley Roseman. “By stepping up and providing such high-quality clothes — and remembering those all-important accessories and shoes — St. James has made a huge difference for the teens in foster care (and those aging out of the system) that we serve.”

Foster parents Zina and Elizabeth admire the St. James donation

Foster parents Zina and Elizabeth admire the St. James donation

Thank you, St. James, and all of the other donors who are making it possible for metro Detroit’s foster teens to step out in style this spring and summer!

Our Spring/Summer Foster Teen Clothing Drive has been extended through June

If you have new/gently-used clothing, shoes and accessories that are age and size-appropriate for teens, don’t put them out in your garage sale — instead, donate them and make a foster teen’s day! To arrange your donation please contact Shirley Roseman at helpcloset@detroitlawyer.org or register with our website.

Don’t have teens but still want to help?

For The Seventh Generation relies on monetary donations for everything from our operating expenses to making the occasional emergency purchase for metro Detroit-area foster children, families, and teens in and aging out of the foster care system. Click here to make a gift of $25, $50, or $100 (or any amount that works for you). Your gift will make a difference today, and through the seventh generation. Thank you!

Thanks to you, we served 500 metro Detroit-are foster children, teens, and families in 2013!

Friends,

When Kelly Ramsey and I proposed For The Seventh Generation to the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation in 2005, we dreamed big dreams for this organization.

For The Seventh Generation Executive Director Lorraine Weber

For The Seventh Generation Executive Director Lorraine Weber

In 2013, those dreams started coming true in a big way:

Thanks to you, over 500 metro Detroit-area foster children, foster families, and teens aging out of the foster care system received life-changing goods and services last year!

Here are some details:

  • Seventy-seven foster children, teens, and families picked up essential items like clothing and furniture at our Help Closet.
  • Seventy-five youngsters picked out presents, had presents picked out for them, and enjoyed snacks, games and holiday-themed festivities at our 2013 Holiday Bazaar.
  • With the help of the Rotary Clubs of Detroit and Grosse Point, 150 children and teens in foster care received brand new winter coats through Operation Warm.
  • More than fifty foster children who are permanent wards of the court received preliminary orthodontic care at the University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Dentistry.
  • Four children were served by the Play It Forward music program, which is funded to provide instruments and lessons to a total of twelve foster youth.
  • The remainder of the foster children, teens, and families received a range of items and services including orthodontic care, Prom dresses and related services, and home-improvement services like roof repairs.

What made all of this possible? You did – by donating goods, donating your time and services, contributing financially, or even by “just” spreading the word on Facebook to let your friends know about the needs of our area’s foster children.

There are too many of you to thank in a short blog post, but we do want to single out Charity Motors, The Park West Foundation, and GEM Asset Management for being very generous and ongoing sponsors of our yearly In Seventh Heaven event.

We also want to thank Metro Detroit Etsy, AMP FM Radio 98.7, and our local and national Ronald McDonald House Charities for providing hand-made craft items, more than 150 Prom dresses and grants of over $9,000 to purchase new beds and cribs for more than fifty babies and children in foster care.

While 2013 was a banner year for us, it is also just the beginning. We have ambitious goals for 2014, starting with this year’s In Seventh Heaven on April 12. Follow us on Facebook for details as they happen, and please consider buying tickets, becoming a sponsor, or making a financial contribution to support us in serving even more foster children, families, and young people aging out of the foster care system.

Every foster child and teen you help makes a difference, and not “just” in the life of that child; the effects are felt by that child’s eventual children and grandchildren … down through the seventh generation. On behalf of the DMBAF and all of us here at FTSG, thank you from the depths of our hearts for making things brighter for today’s foster children and for your impact on our community’s future.

Yours In Service,
Lorraine

P.S.: If you’d like to join Hour Detroit and Meijer as sponsors of this year’s In Seventh Heaven, please contact me right away at (313) 961-6120 ext. 206 or by email at lweber@detroitlawyer.org

Prom Palooza 2013 – ‘This Was the Best Experience For Me!”

With the help of For The Seventh Generation, going to Prom become a reality.
– Deline Echols, A Place of Refuge

Most kids in our area don’t really have to worry about being able to go to Prom; sadly, though, that’s not the case for southeast Michigan teens in foster care. For them, Prom is just another expense that isn’t in the budget.  That’s why we held the first of what we hope will be an annual For The Seventh Generation Help Closet event: Prom Palooza. Thankfully, the community joined in — and together we made Prom possible for several southeast Michigan foster kids who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to go.

PromPaloosa was Deline Echols’ first experience with For The Seventh Generation. Deline, who works for A Place of Refuge, a Southfield organization that serves young people who are aging out of the foster care system, didn’t think she’d be able to find appropriate Prom clothing for a young man in her agency’s care. Prom

But thanks to Valente’s Men’s Formal Wear in Grosse Pointe, he wasn’t just able to dress well – he went to his prom in a custom-fitted tux.

Deline says the young man had a great time at Valente’s.

“This was his first time being fitted and wearing a tuxedo,” she tells us. “He felt like a king because this was something he had never experienced before. He really enjoyed the opportunity to have something that was tailored to his style and body. He says the staff were very polite when assisting him. When he received his tuxedo he had the biggest smile and could not wait to get dressed!”

Later, at his prom, “…he felt like he was on top of the world. This was his first big event all dressed up besides going to church. He really enjoyed himself; he danced and ate the night away!”

“Going to prom meant the world to him,” Deline says. “At first we were not sure if he would have the opportunity to even participate in Prom because funds were very limited. With the help of For The Seventh Generation, going to Prom become a reality.”

Young men weren’t the only area foster kids we were able to help get to Prom. One young woman, Danielle, says that going to our Help Closet and picking out her prom dress “…made me feel special … we could look at all the stuff and pick whatever we liked; they even let me get clothing to use for job interviews.”

Another young lady, Seaince, says, “I was stressed out about my prom dress and how I was going to pay for it.  This was the best experience for me! — I [had] a dress and it look[ed] great on me!!”

We couldn’t have done it without you – many, many thanks to our PromPalooza donors!

The Grosse Pointe Valente’s wasn’t alone in helping us make Prom come true for our area’s foster children. One donor alone, WBHK 98.7 KISS FM, provided 150 prom dresses! Sam Michael’s Menswear in Farmington Hills came through for a young man in need of a tux, and Cafana Cleaners in Detroit has donated sturdy plastic storage bags for our leftover prom dresses so they will be fresh for next year. Melissa Covell of Foster Care Navigators and Countrywood Florist in Romulus also stepped up to help our young people get to Prom.

And we can’t forget P.I.N.K. Detroit and Pretty Faces, which provided volunteers to help “our” young ladies get their hair and makeup Prom-ready!

Can You Help a Young Person in Foster Care? For The Seventh Generation Needs You!

Prom Palooza is over for this year, but our area’s foster children, foster families, and young people aging out of foster care still have needs: everything from orthodontic care to tickets to sporting events, and music lessons to mentors. In other words, all of the “extras” that help children and teenagers thrive.

If you have gently-used/new items to donate or are a professional with expertise you’d like to volunteer, please click here to register with us so we can match you/your donation with a foster child in need.

If you’d like to make a monetary donation, please click here.

All it takes is one gift, one child, one year – and you will have affected our community down through the Seventh Generation.