Embrace Community wraps around teen to celebrate his birthday
Earlier this week at a DHS Child Welfare branch there was unbelievable loving kindness poured out on a very deserving 16 year old youth. Sleeping at night in a hotel for 2 weeks due to lack of placement resources is unspeakably rough, but spending the days inside a DHS Child Welfare with not much to do? Rougher. Especially when it’s your birthday. This teen who we’ll refer to as Daniel* was a trooper but dedicated caseworker, Leigh, was determined to make him feel special. First, Leigh called up a foster mom she knew and asked if she might be available to hang out with Daniel. Even though it was the day before she started a new job, this loving person came to pick up Daniel from East branch and when she got there, there was another teen waiting for a foster home placement as well. So, she took them both out shopping to pick out school clothes and supplies. The next day, knowing Daniel was a huge Harry Potter fan, she dropped off two books. Then a family from Eugene heard about Daniel’s birthday and gave him a $50 Amazon gift card (Word on the street is that he’s into archery and is considering a bow and arrow). The amazing folks at Fat Cupcake learned about Daniel’s birthday and made him a delicious, custom cake to show they care and a dedicated foster parent delivered it, along with Butterfingers, his favorite candy, and homemade cards from her kids! Because of the fire laws inside the building, DHS staff had Daniel pretend he was blowing out the candles on his birthday cake and then decided that just wouldn’t do and actually took him outside the building with a slice of cake to sing to him and light those candles. A Retired DHS Program manager came by to give him a DVD, chips, popcorn and chocolates. Leigh describes Daniel as “resilient” and says “I couldn’t have asked for a better few days for him. I am so grateful”. And the BEST news of all - a loving family has reached out and offered a space for Daniel in their home! Tonight he will be eating his first home-cooked meal in two whole weeks!
Thank you to the community members who embraced Daniel with loving kindnesses in this most vulnerable time and making him feel valued, despite the daunting circumstances! It truly takes a village. And thank you to Leigh who spent the time to go the extra mile to be sure that Daniel was acknowledged, celebrated and remembered, even in the midst of not having what he needed most - a place to call home. We celebrate that while not everyone is supposed to foster, everyone can do something to make a positive difference in the life of a vulnerable child.