For 23 years, Foster Angels of South Texas has worked to improve the lives of children in foster care in the Coastal Bend by ensuring each child has their basic needs met, and by providing life-enriching experiences. The nonprofit identifies the gaps and quickly responds to children’s circumstances so they, too, can have supportive, loving childhood experiences with long-felt, positive impact.
“We help meet the many unfulfilled needs of children and foster care,” said Foster Angels’ executive director Hilary Jackson. “We believe all kids deserve to feel [cared for], so we make sure they receive the essentials and, when possible, those life-enhancing opportunities like extracurricular activities, summer camps and birthday parties. We do this through our partnership with Child Protective Services (CPS), as well as other nonprofit profit agencies.”
Foster Angels of South Texas receives requests from caseworkers with CPS and other agencies, which helps the organization to understand each child-specific need, and then responds within a 48-hour window. For example, Foster Angels helps with housing and rental assistance, which can mean bedding, mattresses, cribs and household items. The assistance continues with clothing, diapers, food, educational needs and much more, including a scholarship program for current or former foster youths pursuing higher education.
Jackson elaborates on Foster Angels’ generous assistance with adoption, including attorney filing fees, home inspections and anything else that prepares a child for adoption, such as eye exams, glasses, braces, therapy services and even car assistance.
“Some of the older youth with cars need assistance on their tires or oil changes, for example. Caseworkers and the case managers are allowed to think outside the box when it comes to the children’s needs. There’s nothing we say no to,” Jackson said modestly.
Collective programs and events throughout the year help to support the agency — such as the back-to-school shoe drive. Each year, Foster Angels collects new pairs of shoes so children can go back to school with confidence and feel cool in their new kicks. Jackson said that often, children are easily identified by their peers as being in foster care from their shoes, emphasizing the importance of sending students to school with the right supplies and materials they need.
Jackson also expressed how proud she is of the organization in its unique ability to help a child in need quickly and efficiently. “[Foster Angels] is unique in that we do what we do in such a short amount of time — we can help a child literally within minutes if need be.” And when something as simple as a pair of shoes can make or break a child’s spirit, an organization like Foster Angels is not only an incredible resource in our community, but a crucial one.