According to Dallas CASA Chief Program Officer Ben Wilkins,
“The holidays can be a challenging time for children living in foster care. Dallas CASA’s volunteers know this and take extra time to visit every child and youth we serve.
“Our volunteers are assigned to the cases of children who have experienced abuse or neglect and are living in the protective care of the state. They are required to visit monthly, stay in contact with caregivers and attend court hearings, but the reality is they do so much more. They remember birthdays and holidays, work closely with attorneys and caregivers and ensure children are receiving the services they need to heal.
“This holiday season, we request gift cards that volunteers can bring when they visit children or youth in care. Please consider donating $25 or $50 gifts cards from Walmart, Target or Amazon.
“While many of our children are served through our Angel Tree Holiday Giving program, children come into care over the holidays and many of the teenagers we serve are living in remote residential treatment centers. These children and youth appreciate gift cards for a number of reasons:
- “For children who come into care right before the holidays, they may be placed with a family member or friend who was not expecting to have a child in their home. They may be financially stretched and busy adjusting to that new reality. A gift card allows that family member to buy a gift for the child.
- “For some of our teens in care, receiving a git card gives them a rare sense of control. One young person we served was staying in a rented room so she could finish school. She used her gift card to decorate and brighten her room, making her space happier and more inviting.
- “For other youths in care, receiving a gift card is an opportunity to learn to budget and save. One of our case supervisors last year shared with me about a young man who needed a new bicycle to get to work. He received a few different gift cards, put them together and purchased his own bike, giving him transportation but also an important lesson in budgeting for future independent living.
“Being able to visit children at the holidays reminds us all why we do what we do. We want every single child to know they are loved and cared for and that their community wants the very best for them.”