Bryce, a sweet 9 year-old boy who was recently placed in foster care, just moved to a new area with his foster mom and her family. Being the “new kid” in school caused the insecurity he was already feeling to grow. To complicate things, when Bryce arrived at his new school, he learned there was an overnight field trip scheduled the very next week. Wanting to get to know his new classmates better and to start feeling like he fit in, Bryce desperately wanted to go.
Things were further complicated by the fact that Bryce’s new foster mom, Natalie, had also taken in one of her students and his three siblings, increasing their family size from four to eight overnight. The entire family was trying to adapt to a new normal…new home, new schools, new foster siblings. To say it was overwhelming would be an understatement. Money was tight and Natalie had no idea how she could afford to send Bryce on the field trip. Sadly, school districts are not required to send all students on every field trip, especially the more costly overnight trips.
Agonizing over how to enable Bryce to participate in this important school event, Natalie reached out to his Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for assistance. Time was short but his CASA contacted ASPIREKids, where their STRIVE scholarship program covers all “normalcy” activities for at-risk and low- income youth. Bryce’s CASA nominated him for a scholarship which was immediately approved. ASPIREKids contacted the school, verified the details and delivered a check to the school just in time for Bryce to attend the trip!
Participating in extracurricular activities gives children opportunities to be in a safe environment when they either succeed or fail, to increase their self-confidence, develop leadership skills and an improved work ethic, build relationships with healthy adults and so much more. When children affected by trauma are not given opportunities to build resilience, they are at increased risk of adolescent pregnancy, trafficking, illicit drug use, alcoholism, suicide and health problems.
ASPIREKids is dedicated to providing opportunities for children like Bryce to experience “normalcy” and to give them hope for a better future. As a lovely ripple effect, Natalie’s stress level was greatly reduced. And, after the field trip, Bryce was invited to a new friend’s house because his friend’s father had noticed how kind Bryce was during the field trip. Every time a foster child, or any at-risk child, feels “normal” there is a new hope, a different kind of hope, for their future.
ASPIREKids builds resilience by providing access to extracurricular and normalcy activities to at-risk and low income children. To make this possible they partner with various youth and family service providers in El Dorado, Sacramento and Placer Counties. To learn more about ASPIREKids you can visit their website or email Jodi at firstname.lastname@example.org.