For years, Jodi and one of her 4 sons dreamt of helping kids who did not have the same opportunities that they had. At just 6 years old, one of her sons was highly concerned that there were kids in the world who didn’t get to do everything he was doing. As someone who had grown up in foster care until age 12, Jodi also empathized with kids and teens in vulnerable situations who didn’t have access to basic necessities and who didn’t get to participate in typical school and extracurricular activities. They longed to make a difference and this desire led to the founding of ASPIREKids, a nonprofit that removes barriers and builds resilience for youth in foster care.
In 2018, Jodi quit her job to pursue this calling. She dove right in and began finding ways to provide scholarships to kids who didn’t have the same opportunities as others. What started out as a dream and a few scholarships, has turned into an organization with 5 different programs including a clothing closet, a sporting equipment locker, and the Strive Scholarship program. Last year alone, ASPIREkids awarded 133 scholarships for a total of $33,000 and provided clothes for 187 youth. They also provided $20,000 to 14 high school graduates in 2023 to help cover college expenses.
Jodi has heard many sweet stories from those involved in the process. One school administrator shared a story of two sisters who showed up to class with little to nothing. When they received clothing from ASPIRE, the dean said, “They were so appreciative. Receiving things like that actually changes their attitudes and perspectives towards school. It also helps build trust and rapport which allows me to be able to meet their needs”.
Scholarships from ASPIREKids include big things like sports teams, driving education classes, and school field trips but also little things like haircuts which some foster families can’t afford. Jodi recently ran into a boy who had received a free haircut and when he recognized her, his eyes lit up and he said, “Thank you so much for my haircut! I was so excited!” (Jodi pictured on right)
Jodi’s next goal is to open up a boutique where students can come and shop for their own clothing. Her heart and passion for kids have touched lives all over the Sacramento region, allowing them to feel seen and loved. Her story is proof that every act of kindness and generosity has the power to change a child's life for the better. To learn more or get involved with ASPIREKids, visit aspirekidseldorado.org.