FOSTERING COMMUNITY BLOG
Happy National Kinship Care Month!
Today, we are going to be highlighting a Love Box Leader, the Love Box Group, and the willingness of those people to support a family in the foster care community. Caroline Bortz joined the Houston Angels volunteer efforts through our Love Box Program. Thanks to her and her group’s willingness to serve the foster care community, a kinship family of 9 kids has forever been impacted. Read what Caroline Bortz has to say about her experience below:
How did you find out about the Houston Angels? Our church has an outreach program and it was listed as an opportunity for us to serve our community!
Why did you decide to participate in our Love Box program? I did some research on Houston Angels and loved what I learned about it! The Love Box program was a perfect fit for our group since we were a little larger and had the ability to volunteer monthly. We wanted to support a great cause and love on/support an amazing family!
What have you gained personally from the Love Box program? So much! Knowledge about the foster care system, perspective about the foster care system (how many people it affects), relationships with all the kids, relationships with the foster parent, relationship with the biological mom and how you can make a difference/help families in the foster care system.
Has the Love Box program helped change any of your perspectives in life? All children, no matter their background, desire similar things like love and attention. We were a little nervous initially because it was our first time interacting with children/a family in foster care. But, the kids are so amazing and are just like any other kid. They want to play, they want to be interacted with and talked to, love showing us their toys. The kids didn’t care what we brought in the box, they just wanted a relationship. A few hours once a month can make a big impact!
Did you have any fears about being in the program? If so, what were they? What helped you overcome these fears? There were definitely some fears - will the kids like us, will the guardian/parent like us, do they need help, how do we get to know the kids? But it just took showing up every month and getting to know the kids - playing with them like they were any other kid!
Describe your relationship with the kids. Describe your relationship with the caregivers. The kids are incredible! Not only so respectful and kind, but just the goofiest, most energetic little humans (we were always exhausted after playing!). Each relationship with the kids were different - some girls wanted to talk more, one always wanted to play basketball. Our relationship with the guardian/parent was there however she wanted us to be, through text/dropping off what she said they needed, checking in emotionally to see how she was doing, and encouraging her for doing such an amazing job! Being a caretaker is hard!
What is your favorite memory/experience with the family? I think just getting to know the kids, seeing their personalities come out over time. Playing with them - water balloon fights, chalk, lots of hide and seek.
Tell us about what you have learned about kinship foster families. Kinship foster families allow for kids to stay with family and that is a huge blessing. I cannot imagine these siblings not all being in one household together - they are each other's best friends. And they love their caregiver/family member so much.
What do you wish people knew about foster care / kinship care? Foster care / kinship care affects a lot of people, specifically amazing children and selfless caregivers. Any support at all, emotional or financial, goes a long way and truly makes an impact. I would like to encourage more people to get involved!
If you were to speak face-to-face with the donors who help make the Love Box program possible, what would you say to them, to reassure them that their support is making a difference? I could write pages! These families and children are in such need of the Love Box program. I saw for the first time the positive effect it had on their lives. I don’t think anyone could put a price on making a child smile, laugh, feel loved and seen. Furthermore, the support provided to the caregiver, acknowledging the difficulties and encouraging her for all her sacrifice and hard work. I would like to say thank you to donors and that their money is directly touching many lives.
How has your involvement with our [organization/program] benefited you or your community in terms of increasing quality of life or satisfaction? I have gained perspective and told many people about the Love Box program! I also have just purely enjoyed it! It brought me joy!
The Love Box Program was created to provide a sense of community and support for fostering families through intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship. Every family's love box may look different, because it all depends on the needs of the family!
We are SO grateful for our volunteers and Love Box Groups, as they are what makes all of this possible!
Want to learn more about the Love Box Program & how to get involved? Visit our website at www.houangels.org/lovebox.html. Read more about what the Love Box is, Read our Logic Model behind the Love Box Program, or complete the online volunteer application to get started with your volunteer journey!
Written By: Kelsey Karr, Houston Angels Intern
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PO Box 420966
Houston, TX 77242