Carry Hope by Keri Hope

The picture above is a picture of me when I was four years old. I had been in and out of the foster care system since I was born. This photo was taken by one of my foster moms.

I remember at one of my foster homes I had these Sesame Street Stuffed animals I would sleep with every night. Stuffed animals that brought me a little bit of comfort during a tough time. I remember when I was being sent to a new foster home and was not allowed to take my Sesame Street Stuffed animals with me.

This could have been because my foster parents couldn't afford to replenish new toys with each new foster child that came to their home. I understand this now. But what's so striking is the fact that as a foster child I was more upset I couldn't take my Sesame Street Stuffed Animals than I was to be moving to a new foster home. It's easier for foster kids to get attached to stuffed animals than to their foster parents, because of how uncertain these situations can be.

Besides that, do you know what the majority of foster children are using to move their few belongings from one home to another? Trash bags.

That's unacceptable.

We can do better for these kids.

That's why Together We Rise is working hard to distribute sweetcases to foster children across the nation and remind these foster children that they are kids, not trash. Sweetcases are duffel bags that have a pillow pet, coloring book, crayons, a blanket and more. One sweetcase costs $25.

If you start your own Sweetcase fundraiser online when it's finished you can hold a Sweetcase build. Every bag is customized at these Sweetcase builds. Like the one pictured above.

Join Together We Rise and I to ensure no kid ever has to use a trash bag to go from one home to the next and that no kid has to shed tears because they can't bring their favorite stuffed animals with them.

I strongly urge all foster youth alumni to get involved with Together We Rise. I have done the Sweetcase fundraiser the past three years and it has given me a strong voice to advocate for foster youth. It's also given me the opportunity to educate others on what foster care is all about.

Many people just don't know a lot about foster care and what foster kids go through. The more they know, the more willing they are to help.

Let's give these children a piece of hope.

-Keri Hope


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© 2016 by Keri Hope Richmond. 

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