Hello Duffels4Kids friends!
We can’t believe that it’s already August because it seems as if just yesterday it was May! Where did the summer go?
As we get ready to usher in a new season — and school year — we wanted to take a moment of your time to recap our awesome summer.
We held a very successful Duffels4Kids Walk in Jacksonville on May 21. This would not have been possible without the great support from our sponsors (such as Family Support Services of North Florida), individual donors and our walkers. We welcomed almost 300 attendees to the Jacksonville Zoo to “walk for the kids.” Check out the website at www.duffels4kids.org to see the logos of our sponsors and you can also view photos from the walk HERE.
Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association Conference
On June 11, Duffels4Kids distributed 129 duffels and more than 100 pajamas to foster parents attending FSFAPA’s annual conference in Orlando. We love having a table at events catered to foster kids and foster parents because everyone can see actual results of supporting a program like ours. (By the way, we sold out of our amazing handmade bracelets supporting kids in foster care!) We had more requests than duffels during the conference but as of today, all requests have been processed and duffels were shipped directly to the children throughout the state.
Foster Youth Graduation Present
In early June, Duffels4Kids provided large wheeled duffels to 80 foster youth graduating in Miami-Dade County. Each duffel included a spiral-bound Foster Care Transition Toolkit, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Education to help foster youth succeed beyond high school graduation. Duffels4Kids will provide additional support to those youth entering college for the first time, gifting them with care packages and other items as needed.
Medtronic Philanthropy Event
Duffels4Kids was awarded $20,000 to facilitate a philanthropy project for Medtronic and on June 14, Medtronic employees stuffed 500 duffels for children in foster care at the Hilton Diplomat in Hollywood. Each volunteer wrote an encouraging note for the kids — a small gesture that will surely bring big smiles to the recipients. View our photos from this event HERE.
We secured 200 backpacks for organizations hosting back-to-school giveaways for August. Helping K-12 students start school on the right foot is a big priority for us too!Florida Department of Children & Families Distribution
On August 5, we distributed 200 duffels to the Jacksonville office of DCF. Investigators were at the office to pick up the duffels, which they will have on hand to give when a child is removed from his/her home. Our goal: #NoMoreTrashBags for foster kids transitioning from home to home.
So there’s our summer in a nutshell (as always you can check our blog for more details on each event). What’s planned for the next four months? Celebrations4Kids (birthday parties for teens in group homes), more duffel distributions and a holiday partnership with Biaggi Luggage! Stay tuned as we strive to change the culture of foster care, one duffel at a time.
T. LaShaun Wallace
Family Support Services of North Florida
A HUGE thanks goes to our lead sponsor for the 2016 walk: Family Support Services of North Florida. FSS was very supportive of our efforts to host the walk in Jacksonville and their staff worked tirelessly to make this year’s walk a success. Lee Kaywork (CEO of FSS) and his family also participated in the walk with us, showing the community that foster kids are a priority from the top to bottom in his organization. Thank you FSS for believing in our vision!
Duffels4Kids has several events throughout the year where volunteers are heavily needed. We are proud of our youth volunteers who step in to help their peers in foster care. They are proving that they are ready to make the world a better place.
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