TRENTON, N.J. - U.S. Department of Human Health Services statistics show there are over 400,000 children in the foster care system and that number continues to rise. Incredibly, one woman decided it's time to be a mother to them all and created a simple way to do it.
It all started with one simple wish from a young married couple.
"We chose to become foster parents as a way to start a family," said Danielle Gletow, Founder and Executive Director of One Simple Wish.
Shortly after, that wish was granted. Gletow and her husband became pregnant with a biological child. However, the foster care system and adoption experience birthed a new wish.
"A way to connect more people who wanted to help with the children who really needed to know that there are so many people out there that care about them," said Gletow.
She got her team together and started onesimplewish.org, granting wishes for foster children through 420 different agencies in 33 states across the nation.
Gletow said that, "We would love one day for one simple wish to have a partner in all 50 states."
The process is fairly simple. Go to their website and click on grant a wish.
"Find the wish that you want to grant. You can search by state; you can search by partner if you have a particular partner that you'd like to work with, by the age of the child, by the gender of the child, or by the actual wish itself," explained Sarah Dale, program manager of One Simple Wish.
At first it was a difficult concept for Anthony Weaver to grasp. He is 19 and was once a foster kid. He was on the receiving end of One Simple Wish.
"It's helped me financially; it's helped me obviously get a job," said intern Anthony Weaver. "They support me all the way through."
These real life fairy god mothers find wholeness with every wish they are able to grant.
"One of my favorite that I got to grant was Justin Bieber tickets," said Dale.
One Simple Wish is a non-profit and gets all their money through private donations. They grant wishes 365 days a year. For information on how you can start granting wishes, log onto simplewish.org.
There are several ways people can help the children currently in the foster care system. Obviously, fostering a child within your own home is one way to give back, but those unable to foster a child can still get involved.
- Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate – Only requiring a 30 hour training course and background check, a CASA advocates for a foster child and assists in deciding what the best course of action is.
- Donate Supplies or Participate in Fundraisers – Foster care organizations are often underfunded, so donated toys, toiletries, or money can go a long way to provide for these children or make them feel special.
- Become a Mentor – Mentors can help foster children by tutoring them in school, teaching important life skills, or just being a role model. Many children in foster care do not have much permanency in their life, so being a permanent fixture in their life is important. (Source: adoptuskids.org)
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