Acts of Kindness Not Lost on Foster Teens
Most of the teenagers who come through the doors of The Hanger haven’t seen the best side of humanity; they have been abused and neglected by the people who are supposed to love them the most. It’s hard for these kids to accept the idea the world really is full of genuinely caring, supportive people. Since The Hanger opened it’s doors in 2013, foster teens have had the opportunity to see the good people of Colorado Springs in action…
- Wishes written on scraps of paper and dropped into a bowl, fulfilled by strangers in just a few days.
- Loads of new shoes, clothes and personal items donated by caring people, church groups, and businesses every week.
- Professionals donating time out of busy schedules to teach job skills and share life lessons.
- Volunteers spending every Saturday in The Hanger to mentor and coach the teens.
“It isn’t the material things the kids are getting at The Hanger that is making the biggest impression,” said CASA volunteer Jane Hegstrom. “It’s the opportunity for them to see the kindness and thoughtful actions of everyday people – these foster teens are beginning to believe in the inherent goodness of people.”
At The Hanger store, located in a donated retail space in downtown Colorado Springs, foster teens are able to “shop” for donated clothes and accessories, free of charge. It’s a simple concept that most of us take for granted, but for a foster kid, being able to choose and wear your own clothes helps build self-esteem. “I walked into foster care with a small bag of clothes, having to give up my home, and most of my belongings,” said 15-year-old Maria. “Just owning a nice pair of jeans means a lot. They’re stylish, and they’re mine,” she said.
Teens have also benefited from the opportunity to help operate the store, providing them with valuable work experience. Many foster teens have no job experience, making it very difficult to find employment when they turn 18 and age out of the system. While working in the store, teens are mentored and coached by adult volunteers and go through a complete hiring and training process. CASA also partnered with local organizations to provide life skills workshops and other opportunities for personal and professional growth for teens. The goal is to help teens transition from foster care to becoming independent, self-sufficient and productive adults in the community.
Our thanks to the amazing volunteers, community partners and donors who lifted the lives of more than 400 local foster teens through The Hanger last year.