Equipping the Village
To date, our main program has been putting essential supplies in the hands of foster youth and caregivers in Sonoma County while lending support. This takes place at our Resource Center, which opened in June of 2021.
Our Village Closet provides clothing, shoes, toys, books, baby supplies and equipment, small furniture, and other essential items to the youth affected by foster care. We also work collaboratively with area and partner organizations to fill specific needs. All this connection is made possible by generous monetary and in-kind donations from individuals, foundations, community supporters, and grants.
We can’t do it without your encouragement and generosity!
Relative Caregivers, Resource Parents (aka Foster Parents), Reunifying Biological Parents, current youth in care, Social Worker, CASA Workers, Transitional Age Youth, and youth adopted from foster care all come to our Resource Center for connections to supplies and support.
We held our first Summer Giveaway in June 2020 (with appropriate COVID-19 protocols) and were able to help 140 youth of Sonoma County foster care! Thank you to everyone who volunteered during the time slots, helped us organize, sort and set up/take down. We are grateful to have you in our village.
In December 2020, we partnered with TLC’s Transitional Housing Program (THP) for a holiday giveaway of clothes, toys and housing needs at a 2-day, COVID-safe event. Because of the generosity of donors and community partners, we were able to serve over 40 youth of Sonoma County foster care. Again, gratefulness fills our hearts.
In March 2021, we raised $2000 for THP to help them purchase a shed to have on site. THP supports parenting and expectant youth in their program. THP has partnered with Our Village Closet to provide essential items for successful and safe parenting. THP is currently storing a large amount of lovely donated items taking up much needed space in their youth resource center. So, their vision is to purchase a shed for the program parents to have a no-hassle, organized, and low barrier way to come choose the items they need most! We were happy to help support this vision. Together we are stronger!
In June 2021, we opened our Resource Center! On June 2nd, we had a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and officially launched our Resource Center- a place for youth and caregivers of or affected by foster care to come get needed supplies and support. Before opening, we served an average of 25-30 people a month. In June alone, we served over 80 people, showing what a difference having this Center makes in the number of people we can reach and support.
In December 2021, we held our 2nd annual Holiday Gift Giveaway and put smiles on the faces of over 170 youth affected by foster care in Sonoma County!
We closed 2021 having fostered connections to almost 2000 individuals impacted by the child welfare system. Our hearts are bursting!
In July 2022, we put essential school supplies in the hands of 211 youth that have been affected by foster care.
In August 2022, we held our Inaugural Be Our Village Fundraiser Event: Mad About Plaid, and raised almost 50K dollars to support our programs!
“There are so many needs and people want to help but don’t know how. This could be a beautiful place for broadening our community.” – Stephanie, Resource Parent
Supporting the Village
With every exchange, we connect with caregivers and youth, listen and suggest resources as needed. However, more support is needed to avoid burnout, uplift the youth, and retain caregivers. Did you know that somewhere between 30%-50% of Foster Caregivers quit within the first year? Our Village Closet exists to lower that number, collaborate to meet the needs of youth in and/or affected by foster care, and hopefully make it easier to say, “YES” to opening your home to youth in need.
Self-care groups will be where caregivers and youth can get encouragement and guidance to intentionally take care of their well-being. Maybe that looks like pilates/yoga, a book club, a running group, learning about essential oils, the method of tapping, art therapy, a Financial Peace University class (both at caregiver and youth level), a hiking group, music therapy, or any number of other options. The important thing is to help facilitate self-care.
We are also building a Lending Library, and continue to grow our Resource Guide. If you need some book references, contact Amanda for help.
Training the Village
In addition to support for the youth and caregivers impacted by foster care, there is a growing need to educate the community about issues related to foster care. Furthermore, caregivers are required to complete training hours each year. Providing relevant training opportunities will strengthen a collective support system for the village.
The trainings we plan to offer would be open to caregivers, community members, extended family and youth where relevant. Topics may include:
- trauma effects and trauma-informed care
- drug and alcohol exposure effects
- addressing challenging behaviors
- advocacy and accessing special need services
- intentional well-being (self-care)
- Sensory Processing Disorder, sensory diet and sensory tools to help regulate
COVID-19 and staffing challenges have impacted our timeline. Stay tuned for updates on when trainings will begin.