Volunteers deliver hope for local fostering families

Courtesy of Mary Aronen

Sometimes you discover goodness right in your neighborhood and they are often the best kind of support.

In the spring, the JROTC group at Federal Way High School, which boasts over 100 members, reached out to Seattle Angels for community service ideas. Seattle Angels is a non-profit that wraps support and care around fostering families in our area. They match volunteers with families who are doing the hard work of fostering children that have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. Some are licensed to take children and provide a temporary safe space for them, and others are kinship providers that have taken in loved ones whether on a temporary or permanent basis.

Volunteers mentor through the Dare to Dream Program, as well as serve through our Love Box program. They show up monthly with emotional support for the family as well as items in the Love Box that the entire family would need and enjoy. Whether the items are paper towels or a gift card to a grocery store, gas card or an outing to the Great Wolf Lodge, the intent is support for the family on the journey.

The JROTC commanders, student leaders and myself met over Zoom to brainstorm ideas the students could do to fulfill their community service requirements. The students exceeded all expectations in their projects! They not only collected gift cards and assorted items such as toys and stuffed animals, backpack and books, but made vision boards for eight of our older foster youth, ages 11 and above.

I asked their caregivers about their future plans, their hobbies, interests, favorite foods, etc. The students’ boards left us all speechless. The foster youth were beyond excited and one boy said he was going to immediately post it above his bed. Then, a few weeks later, a student in JROTC collected items and made custom gift baskets for each of the youth who received the vision boards. The baskets contained the youths’ favorite candy, branded items, gift cards to their favorite restaurant, and items such as basketballs, model cars, athletic socks and much more.

Seattle Angels looks forward to continued collaborations with JROTC at Federal Way High School and can’t thank you enough for giving to other youth in our community!

Collaborations with Seattle Angels can be neighbors wanting to reach out to others, as well as business and faith partnerships. The Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Federal Way responded to a request Seattle Angels made for such a partnership. They responded incredibly favorably that 13 of their parishioners formed a Love Box group. Their first meeting with the family and delivery of the Love Box took place this summer with the two leaders. The family will go on their first campout with the children so the Love Box team lovingly put together a “camping themed” box.

To continue the great work that Seattle Angels is doing, we are looking for volunteers who wish to show up monthly for a one year commitment. This is something that families can do together and encourage an altruistic spirit within their children as well.

Please contact JoAnn Andro at joann@seattleangels.org for more information on how community members and businesses can contribute with a one time box, monthly commitment or mentorship opportunity.


Where are your wings?

This summer, Carole and I had the delightful experience of delivering our first Love Box to our Seattle Angels foster family. We had no more than arrived when a sprightly and active four-year-old came bounding out of the house, circled us both once and ask in a quizzical voice, “Where are you wings?”

She had been told the “angels” were coming to visit and expected us to have wings. Our visit began in this delightful way and only got better from there. The family loved all the gifts we, as a church family, provided. Sleeping bags were discovered, lanterns lit, books read, balls tossed, cards discovered all in a flurry of excitement and wonderful conversation. We stayed and played into the early evening, leaving with hugs all around from the girls and fresh gifts from the garden of the foster parents. Today I wonder, “How does one ever stand with God in the service of others and not get ten-fold the blessings given?”

This morning, Carole and I agree, our hearts and spirits do indeed have wings.

We will be visiting on the second Monday of each month. Our theme for next month is “Mickey and Minnie Mouse” which should be fun for all of us. More details to follow from the Outreach Committee and in the mean-time, keep those cards of encouragement for the family coming along with your Love Box ideas and prayers.

Many blessings, Mary and Carole

JoAnn Andro at Poverty Bay in Federal Way, where she hosted one of five coffee meet and greets for her volunteers and fostering families. Courtesy photo

JoAnn Andro at Poverty Bay in Federal Way, where she hosted one of five coffee meet and greets for her volunteers and fostering families. Courtesy photo

Volunteer from Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. Courtesy photo

Volunteer from Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. Courtesy photo