How to Offer Hope and Support to Foster Care College Students
Thanks to the Red Scarf Project via Foster Care to Success, your knitting can provide comfort and support to college students who have aged out of foster care
Imagine what it must be like to be removed from the only home you ever knew–perhaps as a young child, even as a baby–because that home is too dangerous to grow up in.
This is the plight of far too many children in the United States who must enter the foster care system. For a variety of reasons–drug abuse, domestic violence, incarceration, mental illness, parental death–a child’s home may be deemed unsafe. When this happens, the child is placed in foster care.
Foster care isn’t meant to be a permanent solution. It is meant to offer parents the opportunity to overcome their issues and know that their children are safe in the meantime. Unfortunately, many parents are never able to overcome those issues, and as a result, their children may never return home.
In the meantime, many foster children live very unstable lives. Foster parents are often unprepared or unable to care for children long-term, which may mean a childhood full of moves to different homes and different school districts.
In addition, the age of 18 looms ahead of foster children. This is when children are said to have “aged out.” This means that the child is legally an adult, and the government is no longer compelled to ensure that the child has anything–including shelter, money, clothing, and food.
But while the child may technically no longer be a child, they are often still very much children who aren’t ready to live on their own.
Foster Care to Success and the Red Scarf Project
Fortunately, many wonderful organizations work hard to meet the needs of such children. One such organization is Foster Care to Success. Recognizing the enormous gap left between foster care and higher education, FC2S has worked tirelessly with these children to ensure that they aren’t left on their own when they want to attend college.
The Red Scarf Project is but one project of FC2S. Its aim is to place a handmade scarf into the hands of every foster child aging out of foster care and preparing to enter the world of college and adulthood. That scarf is, in turn, part of the FC2S Student Care Packages project, which aims to send former foster children three care packages a year.
These care packages are likely to be the only “mail from home” that these students receive. So you can see what an important project this is!
The Red Scarf is offered as part of the Valentine’s Day Care Package. When one of these college students receives a Red Scarf, it usually becomes a treasured keepsake that the student will wear for years to come. The Red Scarf is a tangible evidence for such students that someone cares, enough to spend their precious time on a scarf just for them!
Another project of FC2S is the Student Emergency Fund. College students often face emergencies – a health problem, a broken-down vehicle, a price hike of something needed to continue attending school, just to name a few. Now, imagine how a former foster child would cope with such an emergency, without a support system in place. This is where the FC2S Student Emergency Fund steps in.
How You Can Help
You can help the Red Scarf Project and its sister projects in many different ways.
The way that most knitters and crocheters will enjoy the most, of course, is by knitting a scarf! The Red Scarf Project page details guidelines and shipping information. Note that scarves are collected from September 1 to December 15 each year. You can make scarves at any time, but they ask that all donors send scarves only between these dates, as they have limited storage space.
Another way you can help is through the Student Care Package. This link explains how you can donate either supplies or funds to help.
Finally, you can donate directly to the Student Emergency Fund and help ensure that former foster children needn’t suffer through a crisis alone.
With Foster Care to Success, the Red Scarf Project, and the Student Emergency Fund, you can offer hope, encouragement, and a real opportunity to former foster children entering the world of adulthood!