Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Help us create memories for children in care throughout National Foster Care Month

Children who are placed in foster care are often uprooted from their homes leaving their family with just the clothes on their backs. They leave all that they have known with only a few, if any, personal keepsakes. Many will go on to live in numerous and temporary foster homes while sharing many life experiences and passing through developmental milestones along the way.

Without record of these events, much of a child’s life might be forever missing and left behind with a previous placement. Documenting the time spent in care can go a long way in helping the children who have already lost so much. Pictures are used to create histories and document those memories and experiences throughout childhood. Most parents take photo after photo of their children with every milestone or achievement. Yet, children in foster care don’t always have someone to do this for them.

Andrea Fries, a program director for Arizona’s Children Association foster care and adoption program, is also a kinship adoptive parent and foster mom. “Having a record of their early lives is important to most kids. My three kids who are adopted, and who are fortunate enough to still see all of their family, love to go back through photos of things we have done,” said Andrea. “They are always curious about finding pictures from their past because most of their baby pictures have been lost or are only at their grandmother’s.”

Lifebooks are scrapbooks that are created by the parents of foster and adoptive children to use as a personal album of memories. These books are a collection of the child’s words, photos, artwork and other mementos that showcase the child’s growth and early life experiences. Lifebooks also serve as a way to build a connection between the child and their foster or adoptive family.

“These Lifebooks represent a youth’s identity,” said Michael Wydra, program director. “They help them understand their life events, grow, and develop into stronger individuals.”

Arizona’s Children Association is collecting blank, 12” by 12” scrapbook albums and new, or slightly used, digital cameras to provide for the families of children in care. May is National Foster Care month and we are counting on our community to help us provide a heritage for Arizona’s children. Through May 31, AzCA will be collecting donations at many of our offices:

Donation Drop-Off Locations

711 E. Missouri, Suite 300
Phoenix, AZ 85014

3618 E. Pima Street
Tucson, AZ 85716
520.318.4882 x 1565

3780 S. 4th Avenue Extension, Suite K
Yuma, AZ 85365

Sierra Vista
174 S. Coronado Drive, Suite B
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

440 N. Washington Avenue
Prescott, AZ 86301

906 W. University Avenue
Building B, Suite 150
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Lake Havasu City
228 London Bridge Road, Suite 202
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403

For more information, contact Michael Wydra at MWydra@arizonaschildren.org or call 602.253.1620 x2679. Monetary and in-kind donations are encouraged throughout the year to support many of our programs statewide. Contact the office nearest you to learn more.

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