Become a Foster Angel in Corpus Christi
Foster Angels of South Texas needs more angels. After 27 years serving the needs of foster children in the region, the organization is expanding its outreach to the community and seeking more volunteers to aid its mission. Since its genesis in 1991, it has had only one employee serving a large board of directors.
“We are now a staff of three,” said program director Hilary Elizondo, who came aboard in June 2017. “We are growing and looking for more ways to involve more volunteers.”
The first major volunteer need is to help with the organization’s biggest fundraiser, the annual Foster Angels of South Texas Luncheon. Keynote speaker Steve Pemberton headlines the event, which is 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, in the Solomon P. Ortiz International Center, 402 Harbor Drive in Corpus Christi. Pemberton authored “A Chance in the World,” a best-selling memoir soon to become a major motion picture that recounts his life journey from an abused orphan in foster care to a youth advocate and an acclaimed speaker.
Volunteers are needed to help set up before the event and work the registration desk during check-in.
Other opportunities include working at the annual picnic for foster children held in Laredo or helping stuff backpacks with school supplies each summer in preparation for the start of classes. An annual Halloween carnival also requires community angels and offers a great chance to work directly with the kids. Foster Angels also take a turn gift wrapping during the holiday season at La Palmera to raise money
All that fundraising is for just one thing: to provide for the needs of foster kids in South Texas.
“If a child suddenly gets put into foster care at 10 p.m., sometimes they come with nothing but the clothes on their back,” Elizondo said. “We can provide immediate assistance by buying clothing and shoes.”
Foster Angels of South Texas has bought beds for grandparents who must make an instant home for their grandkids. It has provided bus passes, prom dresses, summer camp and more.
The process for fulfilling a request begins with an information form that describes the circumstances and the need. Most requests are approved and taken care of within 48 hours. Emergencies are acted upon within 24 hours or less. Requests come through Child Protective Services, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and BCFS Health and Human Services. All three organizations work closely with Foster Angels.
“We support a lot of activities and educational opportunities,” Elizondo said. “Our mission is to, first of all, make sure the basic needs of foster kids are being met and to provide life-enriching experiences for them.”
Providing growth opportunities and positive life experiences are important aspects of the program. Last year, 3,900 children were in foster care in Region 11 in South Texas. Foster Angels strives to make sure none of these kids “fall through the cracks,” said Trista Martinez, development director.
“They experience so much trauma,” Martinez said. “Their normal isn’t our normal. We bring awareness to them — that they can go to college or law school or become a doctor. Just because you grew up in in foster care doesn’t mean you have to live your life as a foster child.”
HOW TO VOLUNTEER
To become a Foster Angel, email Elizondo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (361) 877-8769.
Foster Angels of South Texas Foundation is located at 800 N. Shoreline Blvd, Suite 2750-S, in Corpus Christi. Call (361) 949-1670 or visit fosterangelsstx.org for more information.
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