Not Ready to Be a Foster Parent? Help by Volunteering

Foster Care tablingFoster care is all over the news in Massachusetts. Story after story has lots of people wanting to help. But they’re not sure how. For many, becoming a foster parent is not a possibility – sometimes not now, maybe not ever. That’s okay. And it doesn’t mean you can’t help.

There are many great organizations in Massachusetts working to make life better for foster children, and they all rely on volunteers to help deliver kindness, stability, support and safety.

A great example is CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. CASA recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for foster kids in front of judges who make decisions about children’s living situations. CASA is a national program, with local affiliates in most states.

Another group helping foster kids is Together We Rise. Founded by college students, it hosts events and raises money for many different projects, such as providing duffel bags and donating bikes to foster kids, funding trips where siblings are reunited at Disneyworld, and even offering college scholarships.

Volunteers are the heart and soul of many of these organizations, and Plummer Foster Care as well as Plummer’s Group Home, also benefit from volunteer efforts. Our dedicated supporters give as they can, whether that means dropping off boxes of favorite kids’ cereals a few times a year, baking pies for Thanksgiving, making birthday cakes, raking leaves in the fall, planting flowers in the spring, or staffing tables with information about Plummer Foster Care at various events in the region.

Even if you can’t be foster parent, perhaps you have a special talent or skill you can share. Are you good at math? Music? Reading? Can you spare a little extra time to pick up groceries? Give a kid a ride?  If you, like many people, want to help, please let us know! There are so many children who can benefit from your generosity.

Call Plummer Foster Care at 978-955-9555 today!

Other resources for ideas about how to help kids in foster care:

https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/resources/communities/#informed

http://foster2forever.com/2014/05/help-foster-child-family.html

http://nfpaonline.org/

Music Helps Me Cope

c-coping

scan0021His mother died when he was six. His father, addicted to drugs, abandoned him. At 16, RJ arrived at Plummer Home a lonely, traumatized teenager who had been bouncing around the foster care system for several years.

RJ had a lot to overcome. And the Plummer Home music program helped him do that. As he explains:

“Sometimes I feel as though … I want to express … A lot of pain. And I’ve shown that through making a song called Raise Your Hands. … I wrote raise your hands because I want to … talk to my deceased parents because of the fact that I felt as though there’s a lot of things that were left unsaid but I wanted to say to them.”

Watch RJ’s Raise Your Hands video to see what we mean. With the first verse addressing his deceased mother, and the second his deceased father, RJ speaks of love, anger and ultimately forgiveness.

 

One of the tools Plummer uses to help young men and women move past their pain is music. RJ is a perfect example of how this works.

Aaron Z. Katz, professional musician and Plummer Home’s Music Program Leader speaks of the range of feelings he sees when teaching the kids music.

“Some of the emotions that I’ve seen expressed … are remembering rough experiences and being able to bring those up and deal with them and express them in a positive way. … We do everything from basic instrumental lesson, music theory, learning drums, piano, guitar, bass, songwriting.”

Romare drums

Plummer Home works with kids — mostly teens — in foster care or the juvenile justice system. They have suffered from things like violence, neglect, hunger, bullying and worse. They often stuggle with depression, anger, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. They have trouble trusting people.

We are raising money through our six-week Key of C Campaign to ensure that music remains an expressive outlet for kids like RJ. Each week, we will share the stories of at-risk and vulnerable teens who have used music to develop characteristics so vital to thriving in adulthood – things like courage, confidence, and coping skills.

Help us ensure that Plummer Home can continue to make music available to kids in the foster care and juvenile justice system as they try to overcome experiences most of us can’t imagine.

Donate now to our Key of C Campaign at: crowdrise.com/plummerkeyofc

If you would like to hear some of RJ’s original music, go to:

ksliceTSM on Soundcloud

Meanmuggers Productions

Foster Parents Make a Difference: Part 2 of 2

girl happy 2Parenting teenagers can feel like a thankless job, so when Mary received the following letter from Lydia she was incredibly touched. Mary was happy to share (with the permission of Lydia) this moment with us:

Well…I’m not sure how to thank you for everything you’ve done for me.  You always help me with everything and even if I’m suffering with my depression or even when I’m down or mad. 

To be honest I’m happy and proud to be your foster daughter.  You never give up on me; hardly ever.  I’m always blessed that you teach me what is right and wrong and tell me stories to make me feel better and smile.  You teach me life lessons.

If my mother was alive, she would be so glad that you are taking care of me and protecting me.  I’m so glad that you are in my life now.  You are probably the only person I trust with everything and the only person who has been there since my family hasn’t been around or asked about me. 

I’m glad to be part of the family and at least to have the best and craziest and funniest family. Half the time I feel like I’m not a foster child.  I feel like I’m part of the family.

You have helped me since the beginning until now.  You have inspired me so much by all the stories you have told and by what you do every single day taking care of all of us and treating us all the same. 

I love you very much and care about you very much—a lot.  Thank you for supporting me and the love and care you give me. 

Love, Lydia

16 year old Lydia has been in foster care since the age of three.  She has been moved seven times.  When Lydia moved in with Mary’s family, she was very angry and felt that everyone had always abandoned her.  She trusted no one and was convinced that something must be wrong with her.  Mary assured Lydia that nothing was wrong with her, and that she was welcome in Mary’s home.

Lydia is now a junior in high school and is passing all of her classes in spite of this being the third high school she has had to attend. She is very proud of her perfect attendance and is well liked by her teachers and peers.  She is looking forward to going to college.  Mary describes her as a kind, compassionate and special young lady.