350 kids in foster care enjoy shopping spree in Kendall

Voices For Children president and CEO Nelson Hincapie and board of directors chair Gail Applerouth pose with two participating children and their bag full of new clothes for the school year.

Members of the Miami-Dade community came together on Aug. 15 to prepare 350 children in foster care for the new school year.

Thanks to a partnership with Old Navy and Office Depot Foundation, the Old Navy at the Shoppes at Dadeland closed to the public from 6 to 9 p.m. to allow Miami- Dade foster children a chance to shop privately for $75 worth of clothes for the new school year.

Additionally, Elevation Burger, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, Dominoes and Thierry’s Catering handed out meals to the more than 600 individuals who turned out for this event.

Children participating in this event are part of the Kinship Care Program and the Transitioning Youth Project (TYP).

Angelica, a participating teen from the TYP, expressed her gratitude to Voices For Children Foundation for putting together this special event for her and her peers. The Transitioning Youth Project works to ensure youth leaving the foster care system have the adult relationships, education and skills they need to become successful adults.

“I am so excited to have some new outfits and a pair of shoes to wear to school and work,” she said. “I’ve been working and going to school for almost two years now and sometimes it can get rough. I really appreciate Voices For Children Foundation for helping me and other kids in my situation.”

Celita and Eva, young sisters who participated in the Kinship Care Program were grateful for their new clothes as well exclaiming, “I love my sparkly shoes!”

The Kinship Care Project, where children are placed with family members rather than licensed foster homes, works to ensure these families receive appropriate services like access to financial assistance, educational support and medical resources.

With difficult economic times for families, as well as businesses, these partnerships demonstrated the impact that can be made when communities band together.

“We strongly believe that it takes a community’s effort to help children break the cycle of abuse and neglect,” said Nelson Hincapie, president and CEO of Voices For Children Foundation. “We are thrilled that members of our community have stepped forward for our event to help these students start off the school year with pride and confidence.”

Voices For Children Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that raises funds to ensure that every abused, abandoned, and neglected child in Miami-Dade County has a court appointed Guardian ad Litem and that financial assistance and other resources are available for their accompanying health, educational, and social needs. Guardians ad Litem are trained, court-appointed adults who serve as the representative voice for abused, abandoned, and neglected children involved in dependency court proceedings. There are more than 3,000 children in Miami-Dade County’s foster care system and currently 1,184 children are unrepresented by Guardians ad Litem.

For more information please visit www.BeAVoice.org

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