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It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

Austin Angels helps provide foster parents and children that community

“Not everyone is called to foster, and not everyone is called to adopt, but anyone can make a difference in a child's life.”

The modern family isn’t defined by DNA. Friends are the family you choose, and relationships built on empathy, compassion, communication, trust and love can form bonds even stronger than the ones established just by birth.

 

It was around the holidays 2021 when I made the decision not to pursue having biological children of my own. I was in my 40s and after a lot of soul-searching, came to the conclusion it wasn’t in the cards for me. The same week I started researching local foster non-profits. I didn’t necessarily want to foster a child myself (yet, at least), but I still had a strong desire to try and make a positive impact in a child’s life. That brought me to Austin Angels.

Austin Angels began in December 2009 when founder/CEO Susan Ramirez and friends made a commitment to volunteer once/month and she ended up at a conference on foster care. There she learned about the impact made when a child is placed in a stable foster home, verse if they’re left to age out of the system and fend for themselves.  The statistics are chilling.

-Twenty percent of children who age out will become instantly homeless.

-Seven out of 10 girls who age out will become pregnant before turning 21.

-There is less than a 3 percent likelihood for children who have aged out of care to earn a college degree at any point in their life

The vision of Austin Angels is for every single child/youth who experiences foster care to have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential and for every family who fosters to be radically supported on their journey. They achieve this through initiatives like the Love Box program that began with a single mother who was fostering six teenage boys. Each month, a group of volunteers would put together a “Love Box" of items tailored to the children’s specific needs and a handwritten note of encouragement for each child. A meaningful bond between the children, caregivers, and volunteers was formed through the process of delivering the boxes and spending intentional time together, creating the foundation for the Love Box program, which became official in early 2015. As part of the Love Box program Austin Angels case workers carefully match volunteers with families.

Hearing about her dreams and ambitions.

Nearly a year ago I was paired with a single first-time foster mom and a 17-year-old remarkably extraordinary girl. It’s been an amazing experience getting to know them both, helping the mom navigate the responsibilities that come with having a teenager and listening, learning from, mentoring and just having fun with the foster child.  It’s been an incredibly rewarding and life-enriching experience, for all of us. I think we can all remember the people who believed in us and cheerleaded for us when we were young. Austin Angels gives volunteers the opportunity to be that person for a kid – and nothing feels better.


Austin Angels launched here in 2010 and now has 22 chapters and growing nationwide. They say, “We are social entrepreneurs who refuse to settle for the way things are. We are committed to creating an environment that allows everyone to realize and fulfill their talents and potential. By doing so, we will transform the world we live in.”

You can learn more at https://www.austinangels.com/


“Not everyone is called to foster, and not everyone is called to adopt, but anyone can make a difference in a child's life.”

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