Voices For Children Plays Santa For Thousands of Foster Children in Miami
When it comes to holiday traditions there’s one that children of all ages can get behind: presents! Gathering around the tree on Christmas morning to find out whether Santa made good on the wish list is part of the fun of celebrating the holidays., But thousands of foster children aren’t given the opportunity to have the same experience. So Voices For Children, the Guardian ad Litem Program and many companies and countless individuals teamed up to make sure South Florida’s foster children are taken care of. The Holiday Toy Drive thrived on the generosity of Voices For Children sponsors, donors and Guardians ad Litem who donated thousands of toys to be distributed across households throughout Miami-Dade County.
Beginning mid December, donors dropped off both wrapped and unwrapped toys at their company drop box or at Voices For Children offices, where staff worked diligently to allocate each item to a local foster child, ages from zero to 18 years. Gifts ranged from Barbie dolls and Minion characters to Avenger figurines and Legos—arguably the most popular item among the younger set. For teenage girls the group collected handbags, makeup and jewelry while footballs, basketballs and sporting equipment were collected for the teenage boys; all of which help lend a sense of normalcy to the already turbulent teen years. “We try to put an emphasis on older kids, who tend to miss out,” says Dorothy Marin, Children’s Needs Program Manager of Voices For Children. “Makeup and nail polish are favorites.” There was no minimum purchase or list to follow. However, some donors did go above and beyond, gifting tablets and asking for detailed lists from the children to make sure their holiday wish lists are in fact crossed off. “Children need to feel special, especially during the holiday season.”
Guardians ad Litem also had a hand in picking out toys, handpicking gifts the foster children they look after would like from the home office. “Guardians came [to my office], picked gifts and delivered them personally.” Much like Santa, Guardians pulled late night and weekend shifts to make sure every foster child had the holiday season they deserve.