The Act Six program at George Fox University is partnering with Portland Leadership Foundation (PLF) to create welcome boxes for foster children.
PLF’s vision is to “develop multicultural leaders and grow effective, charitable organizations in order to transform and strengthen [the] community.”
Alongside PLF, Act Six, a leadership and scholarship program, is starting an initiative to make welcome boxes for foster children in transition.
The Department of Human Services in Oregon is often underfunded and understaffed. During the process of transitioning into their new foster homes, children wait for multiple hours until a social worker is able to find a suitable foster home placement.
“DHS offices started to come to PLF, creating awareness of the lack of foster care homes for foster care children,” explained senior Karina Ramirez, Act Six scholar and leader of the Welcome Box Initiative. “PLF decided to create these welcome boxes as a step to bring awareness to the issue; also, to create a safe space for children that come into DHS offices. PLF asked Act Six to be part of this initiative.”
These welcome boxes are filled with age-appropriate items that are meant to entertain the children while they wait for placement in DHS offices. These boxes consist of a handwritten note, coloring book, blank journal, art supplies, non-perishable snacks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and toys.
PLF estimates that these welcome boxes will help more than four thousand children in the Portland metro area.
According to PLF, the Portland metro area, which includes Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties, has 1,640 certified foster homes and 3,143 foster children in the system.
“The reason why Act Six is taking the time to do this is because we felt the calling to help children in need in our community,” said Ramirez. “Especially, for foster children that come from broken homes and need something to brighten their day, or to remind them that they are not forgotten and alone. [We are] trying to make a local difference in our community.”