Arizona Helping Hands Helps Ease the Insecurities of Foster Teens

ARIZONA HELPING HANDS is the largest provider of basic needs for the 15,000 children in foster care throughout the State. “Basic Needs” is a varied and wide category – it naturally includes things like clothing, diapers and personal care items. We take it much farther, and include a bed or a crib – a Safe Place to Sleep for children. We believe this is a basic need for any child, but especially for children who have been victims of abuse and neglect. To provide these boys and girls with a comfortable bed to sleep on seems like such a simple thing – however the impact is huge on the lives of kids in foster care. To change their nightly routine from fighting over who gets the sofa, or which pile of blankets they sleep in on the floor can lift a child’s sense of self esteem. It provides a spot of safety and comfort in a life that has been disrupted.

FOSTER FOOTLOCKERS

At Arizona Helping Hands we define Basic Needs as any item that will enhance and improve the lives of children in foster care. We are always seeking out innovative ways we can assist these boys and girls with material items to let them know that they are cared about by our community.

According to the Semi-Annual Report issued by the Arizona Department of Child Safety, there were 1,741 children in Group Home settings as of March 31, 2018. These kids are living in a communal environment where people come and go every day. Youngsters in this type of living situation have expressed concerns about the security of their personal belongings. You might recall life in a college dormitory, where your favorite candy bar always seemed to disappear, and then extend it to a house filled with younger kids who may not have respect for the personal space of others. Imagine having a few personal treasures – perhaps the photos of biological family members who you have been separated from, and fearing that your valued possessions might disappear. Then add this fear to the long menu of fears and concerns that children in foster care carry with them daily.

Arizona Helping Hands has taken action to add a sense of security for children in foster care. We now supply footlockers, together with a padlock for kids to lock up their personal treasures and to know that their items are secure – we call this program our FOSTER FOOTLOCKERS! Something so simple as a place to secure your stuff can be so important for those 1,741 boys and girls.

One youngster wrote me a note to say, “I love my footlocker. I feel so much more secure about my stuff now. I have locked up my favorite sneakers that were purchased from money I earned at my fast food job. I also love that I can lock up my paystubs. This is my information, and now I know that prying eyes will not see them.”

One youngster wrote me a note to say, “I love my footlocker. I feel so much more secure about my stuff now. I have locked up my favorite sneakers that were purchased from money I earned at my fast food job. I also love that I can lock up my paystubs. This is my information, and now I know that prying eyes will not see them.”

We take for granted the simple things in life, the Basic Needs that we don’t give a second thought to… For some, like children in foster care whose lives have been upended and disrupted, things – like the comfort of a bed, the joy of a new backpack or the security of your stuff is much more than a basic need. We are so happy that the support of our donors and volunteers allow us to brighten the lives of kids who too often live in a dark existence. We are delighted to ease insecurities of teens in foster care. We give Jose, Suzie, Jimmy and thousands of others a bit of basic support, along with lots of LOVE!

Dan Shufelt is the President & CEO of Arizona Helping Hands, the largest provider of basic needs to Arizona’s children in foster care. Learn more about the Organization atwww.azhelpinghands.org and contact Dan at dshufelt@azhelpinghands.org

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