Going back to school is challenging for all kids, but it’s especially difficult for foster children. They frequently don’t have the resources needed to purchase supplies and new clothes for the school year. To address their needs, Voices For Children partnered with Old Navy for the sixth year in a row for a special Back To School event that provided approximately 300 youth the opportunity to shop for the essentials. The event was possible thanks to donations from Old Navy, The Mickey and Madeline Arison Family Foundation and the generous support of the public who donated during our Back to School fundraising campaign. Each child received a $75 gift card to spend during their VIP shopping experience with volunteers serving as personal shoppers at Old Navy at Shoppes At Dadeland.
“This is the first time many of these children are able to shop for their own clothes,” said Nelson Hincapie, President, and CEO of Voices For Children. “They usually receive hand-me-downs and never had the opportunity to go shopping like normal kids do. Plus, in partnering with Old Navy, the children have access to fashion they’re proud to wear and can wear confidently. It’s a brand that everyone knows, so they really feel like they belong when they go back to school.”
The event took place Sunday, July 31st. Children, guardians, and foster parents had four hours to shop while being greeted by Burnie the Miami HEAT Mascot and treated to all natural gourmet popsicles generously provided by PopLab. Mayor Carlos Gimenez made a special appearance and spoke with former foster youths who are scholarship recipients of Voices For Children’s “It Takes A Village” program. “The event is a rare moment when these children get to interact with people outside of their circle,” shared Hincapie. “It’s really about everyone making a connection and bringing the community together.”
Photographs from the event can be viewed online here.