Oklahoma’s Foster Youth Need You this Holiday Season

Tuesday, 13 December 2022 19:19

Oklahoma’s Foster Youth Need You this Holiday Season Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY – As we approach the holiday season, thoughts turn to what gifts will be purchased or provided for loved ones.

I hopefully finished most of my shopping over the weekend, but there is still one remaining thing which I traditionally do: support a foster youth somewhere around the state of Oklahoma.

For many years, Oklahoma Human Services has provided “wish lists” to foster care county caseworkers to distribute to all foster families all across the state. The foster youth in their homes fill out the requests, which range from clothes and toys to bicycles to gaming systems. Once they are completed, the lists are returned to the state office and are distributed to several nonprofit organizations who work to allocate the lists for generous Oklahomans to fulfill the items requested.

We at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) had been assisting with the program as “OK Foster Wishes” for several years, but it was decided that other organizations would be better served in doing this mission. OICA continues to provide support by helping those programs raise awareness.

We received a call from a human services employee asking if we could help raise the funds to fulfill several gift card requests. Of course, we were honored to help and have put together a fundraising link to fulfill the roughly 45 card requests of a $75 value for each. You can go to https://app.theauxilia.com/pay/foster-kid-fund-raiser if you could make a donation to help with the purchase of those cards or you can mail a gift credit card with a $75 value to our office at: OICA, 2915 N. Claasen Boulevard, Suite 320, Oklahoma City, OK 73106

We need those funds and cards back by no later than Thursday, December 22, so please do not delay!

If we receive more funds than what is needed for this program, all the additional money will be applied to our OK-LEAD program which helps put on a three-day leadership camp for foster youth who serve as pages at the Oklahoma State Capitol. All funds will go directly to helping foster youth between the two missions.

If you would like to assist with the remaining fulfillment of wish lists, you can go to https://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/services/foster/holidayhope2022.html and click on the county of your preference to see if there are remaining needs.

With just under 7,000 foster youth in the state of Oklahoma, there are obviously great needs. The best gift you could provide to a foster youth awaiting placement is to bring that child into your home as their foster parent.

Many people became interested in foster parenting through the OK Foster Wishes program, and we are pleased that mission continues with Fostering Joy out of Tulsa, along with the other programs working to help these youth facing the toughest time in their lives.

If you are unable to fulfil a full list, please check out other programs which collect toys for those families who are struggling. Ranging from foster youth, to the homeless, to people who might not be able to afford gifts due to tough times, it is up to those of us who have been blessed to provide a little of our own to those who are without.

I can assure you that almost every community has someone with a need, and likely has a program through a nonprofit or a church that is helping. Please do what you can this year as that truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

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About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023. The organization was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk. Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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