Today, I worked to submit a grant proposal online and in doing so spent time reflecting on where Flourish should be headed. It seems like the last two years we have had 2 major hiccups in helping children. We were displaced for a few months last year and this year we have a beautiful place with limited access, not what we dream of when we dream of helping children. We want to see rivers of generosity flowing into the lives of children who deserve our love. I wanted too share with our Flourish friends, our dream.
In 2017, Flourish Foster Care Closet & Support, Inc. was established to help provide clothing for local foster children who came into care with nothing. Many assume that foster children immediately receive clothing and personal items upon intake when in reality in most cases foster families are expected to provide for the children out of pocket first. This not only becomes a financial burden for foster families as some homes may only have children for a few days or weeks, but it is also a burden to submit to their local departments for reimbursements when they do invest in the children. The founding members of Flourish saw this need and stepped in. We now operate in a space that is dedicated to serving roughly 750 children yearly, but we need financial help to come alongside the donations of goods for Flourish. By providing these simple necessities we have found that families are more likely to foster children knowing they have community support. Their support provides hope and connection.
We have been blessed by the community and our local State Farm agent, Erin Crane, in helping us acquire spaces to work from. Clothing is displayed to give families a shopping experience that helps children of all ages leave with dignity. We are currently renovating a small space for younger children and we just acquired a new building that needs setting up for teenagers. We need clothing racks, storage, and furniture to get our new teen closet started. We have worked diligently through this nations pandemic to keep providing for these children. Our goal is to create a space that not only provides clothing, but also support for the community so that we can help others open foster homes and give them the tools they need to better help children in the system. We have a long-term dream of having a safe harbor home for children entering foster care, but do not yet have a placement. This home would provide safe and secure place for children that helps remove the fear they may be experiencing.
As mentioned, our long-term goal is to have a place that provides support for foster families and a landing place for children to come when they enter the system. Beyond being an open and free closet, we dream of one day having a home that serves as a steppingstone to keep children out of hotels and offices while waiting for a foster family. We often reflect on if one of our own children were removed, we would want them to feel safe and happy from moment to moment. We would like to provide a home like setting for them, with clean clothes, fresh baths, all the food they want, snacks, toys, and even other kids to play with or adults to confidently talk to. Our long-term goal is to provide a place like this for those children who are removed from everything they have ever known and at least, until they are placed, have a safe place to land and not a social workers office. $25,000 would guarantee this dream to come true. We do have a website www.flourishcloset.com for more information if needed. Our community has a heart for this organization and its work.
Sadly, the window of opportunity to submit our proposal open and closed so quickly that our submission did not make it in. Still, we believe there are people with the means and with the heart that can make our dreams come alive. If you read this, and you too can see our vision and want to help. Please share this post.