There are a great many people in the world who spend their lives helping others. I am lucky enough to know a few of them. Those who dedicate their lives to helping support children are especially wonderful. This post is dedicated to one such woman who gives from her heart her time and her dedication to making children feel safe and loved for as long as they need her. I will call her Sarah*. (*Name has been changed in case she feels uncomfortable with me talking about her, but she knows who she is.)
Having participated previously in several Champions For Kids missions, when I saw that the mission this month’s Spin Into Action SIMPLE Service project was aimed at helping foster kids I couldn’t wait to participate and tell you about my friend — a true Champion For Kids.
I first met Sarah when she was the teacher’s aid in my daughter’s very first pre-school class. She was warm and friendly and a wonderful addition to K’s class. But during that year I missed seeing the extra special side of her, a side that I have come to admire over the last year.
I could not have known three years ago that this year my daughter’s best friend in Pre-K would be Sarah’s foster daughter. My K and her M hit it off from the very first day, and K often came home with cute stories about M and how she made her laugh. An energetic and loving little girl full of life and a lot of spunk, M and her brother were taken in by Sarah at the end of K’s first year in school. I knew Sarah planned to adopt that year, but not much else.
More than two years later, this month Sarah and her husband celebrated the adoption of M and her brother. A long awaited happy occasion that did not come easily. The children who came into Sarah’s world two years ago are now officially her own.
But the story of little M and her brother is not the only reason Sarah is a Champion. Although her journey fighting for these little ones would be enough — she does more. Alongside her two-year-old (biological) son and her 4 and 5 year old (newly adopted) son and daughter, Sarah continues to keep her doors open to fostering children in emergency situations.
Over the last year, I became used to seeing new faces with Sarah at pick up. Often taking in tiny babies, sometimes for a few days other times for a few months, Sarah’s heart is tremendous. I cannot imagine opening myself up like she does time and time again to care for and love these tiny children who need so much from her, and yet she does it with a happy smile and without a single complaint. Never once did I ever hear her complain about her fosters — the system trying to keep up with them, yes, but not the children. She loves them and treats them like her own until she has to send them on. I don’t know how many fosters she has cared for, but I believe she once told me she had as many as five in her care at once.
When I told Sarah about my project with Champions for Kids to provide Arm & Hammer Spinbrushes and a few fun items for children in the foster care system, she told me how appreciated the items would be. She told me that some of the children come to her with a nice care package including diapers, food, toys and toiletries while other children have nothing more than the clothes they are wearing. The system tries to give the children something, but it is all donation based so it depends on what is available.
Sarah loved the idea of Spinbrushes since they are both function and fun for the kids. When I asked for other suggestions, she said “I like the idea of giving them something they can hold onto through moves like a luvie, a special pillow (like one shaped like an animal or a flower) or a doll.”
Since my girls can’t sleep without their special stuffed friends, I took that suggestion to heart filling my cart with various stuffed friends and luvies. See my entire shopping trip in my G+ story.
When I got home I decided to also raid my donation stash to see what I might have on hand that would be good and came up with a few more goodies. Because I always have a surplus of tote bags, I also bagged everything up in a couple of new totes which can be given to the children to carry their things.
I can’t wait to surprise Sarah everything I put together for her to pass along to her caseworker. I hope each item brings a smile to a child’s face. Sarah’s story inspires me to do more, and I hope it also inspires you. If you are inspired, I hope you will Spin into Action with Champions For Kids. It is easy to get involved and make a difference. Plus this month Spinbrush is matching donations up to 1,000 Tooth Tunes Toothbrushes. Her’s how to get involved:
- GATHER your community to collect fun toys and colorful children’s items (like books, games, blankets, and toothbrushes)!
- COUNT the number of items you collected and take photos!
- DONATE the items to a local hospital, shelter, or foster care agency in your community to give kids hope, comfort and fun in challenging situations.
- DOUBLE your impact by reporting your project at championsforkids.org/share during the month of July 2013. Let us know how many people were involved and how many items you collected, and Spinbrush® will make a matching donation of up to 1,000 Tooth Tunes™ toothbrushes (total) through Champions for Kids to help children in need!
Make your donation go further and save money on Spinbrushes with a $2 off printable coupon.