At BFF, we believe that it is important to share what foster care looks like in our community, and how our programs impact foster children in such a positive way. To that end, we present our BFF programs to different groups and schools throughout the year. Samaritans365 are one of those groups and we have partnered with them for years now, presenting to their clubs in elementary, middle and high schools in our area.
The Founder of the Samaritans, Laura Reiss says, “The Samaritans365 Foundation’s mission is to create and sustain a global kindness movement by inspiring and educating all to contribute to the world through acts of gratitude, compassion and kindness.
My vision is for the children of today to grow up to raise their children with the same kindness values and before we know it we have an entire generation of kind minded human beings. This is possible, it is happening and has started with us!”
At a recent Samaritans presentation, one of our co-founders, Debbie Ellman, spoke to a group of 4th and 5th graders. She told them about a new 7th grade student in the program, Toni, who was 13, and who hadn’t been to school since 2nd grade. “We talked about how hard it is for her, not only because she missed things like multiplication tables and grammar, but because she missed years of learning how to learn. How to organize her papers. How to take notes. How to ask questions. How to use a computer. All those things create huge barriers for her being successful in school” Debbie explained.
The students really thought about it and they had a lot of thoughtful and insightful questions:
-Who helps them when they are scared or nervous?
-If they have siblings, do they live together? What if the foster family doesn’t want all of them?
-How can they participate in after school clubs and activities and who signs their forms that are sent home from school?
-Where do they live when they turn 18 and what do they do if they don’t have enough money to buy what they need?
It is incredible to watch children grasp the concept that some people are much less fortunate than they are, and that they are lucky to have what they do. Each of the students wrote a letter to Toni with words of encouragement and ideas that they felt would help her catch up. In these letters, it becomes clear that we are molding the next generation of giving, caring community advocates!