As the summer comes to a close, 9-year-old Natalie is thinking about one thing – soon she’ll go back to school. For many, there is much excitement and anticipation at the idea of reuniting with school friends, meeting new teachers and rocking all kinds of back to school style and swag. But for children like Natalie, who is currently in foster care, the thought is not so welcome. Due to a lack of funds and resources, kids in foster care often find themselves missing necessary supplies and using hand me down uniforms, but for Natalie and 300 other foster youths, that is no longer a concern.
Thanks to the generous support of Old Navy, The Mickey and Madeline Arison Family Foundation and our esteemed donor family, this past Wednesday, August 9th, Voices For Children hosted its 7th Annual Back To School Event at the Old Navy in Shoppes at Dadeland. For two hours, the store closed its doors to the public in order to give Miami-Dade County’s abused, abandoned and neglected children and their caregivers a VIP shopping experience. Each child was given a $100 gift card to purchase everything they need to look and feel great on the first day of school.
The smiles on the children’s faces could be seen all throughout the store as they carefully selected their uniforms and clothes. They were busy making new friends and got to color and play at special fun stations. There were plenty of snacks and candy for the most discriminating sweet tooth and on top of all the excitement, guests were treated to some wacky entertainment from Burnie the Miami HEAT Mascot posed for pictures and made everyone laugh with his special brand of humor.
Now, as Natalie looks at her new clothes, she too feels excited about the school year that is quickly approaching and all that it will bring. She truly feels that this year will be different than the previous years, thanks to some very caring members of her community who helped her and the rest of the children to go back to school in style.
There still time to help more children get ready. Although the event has ended, our work continues and there is still time to help more children go back to school.
To see all the photos of the event click here