Cleveland’s Own: Fostering Hope

In this month’s edition of Fox 8’s Cleveland’s Own, Matt Kaulig sits down with Karen Carter, the Executive Director of Fostering Hope.

Since 2013, over 6,000 children have been positively impacted with the help of volunteers, supporters, and donors, through Fostering Hope’s programs.

Fostering Hope provides healing, enriches live and instills hope to children living in foster care in Northeast Ohio. We’re really excited their story on this months. Cleveland’s own.

Fox 8 Cleveland’s Own

Fox 8 Cleveland’s Own is about good people doing good work in Northeast Ohio. WJW Fox 8 and Kaulig Charitable Giving Programs team up to celebrate Cleveland’s Own by highlighting the best of our region in a big way! Each month, Fox 8’s Stefani Schaefer and Kaulig Companies and LeafFilter Executive Chairman Matt Kaulig, share a story about a person or organization from Northeast Ohio doing good work.

To see more Cleveland’s Own stories, or to nominate an organization to be featured, visit Kaulig Giving’s Cleveland’s Own page.

Read the Transcript

Stefani Schaefer

Each month, Kaulig Giving and Fox 8 will highlight people, organizations and charities making a difference in Northeast Ohio. It's time to celebrate Cleveland's Own!

Matt Kaulig

Hi, I'm Matt Kaulig, this month on Cleveland's Own, we hear from an amazing organization that offers much deserved hope and healing to Cleveland area kids, preteens, teens and young adults in foster care. Let's chat with Karen Carter from Fostering Hope.

Karen Carter

My name is Karen Carter and I'm the Executive Director of Fostering Hope. The mission of Fostering Hope is connecting youth in residential treatment and foster care with unique experiences of hope and healing. The three pillars of programing are typical childhood experiences, health and wellness and community engagement. Those three pillars grew out of the desire to, One: reach kids with those experiences that so many of us take for granted that our founder saw was lacking often or inaccessible in the lives of kids who are now in residential treatment and foster care. Why kids are in residential treatment is for healing. And we bring yoga and art and gardening as another piece of their healing process. You never know the impact that you're having on a child. Something as simple as coloring a sheet and writing "you're awesome" can say a lot to a young person who's been through foster care. So we offer a lot of different experiences to volunteer, but nothing is too little. A great way for volunteers to get involved with Fostering Hope is through our Journey Bag program. A journey bag is for a child who's either entering foster care or transitioning to a new placement. When they come into care, they may not have anything or may have been removed quickly with just a few items.

Matt Kaulig

Let's pack some journey bags.

Karen Carter

So, you need a duffel bag. We want to put a blanket in.

Matt Kaulig

It's comfy!

Karen Carter

And a stuffed animal. The journey bag provides some comfort and dignity in the process, so we fill them with these items, blankets and crayons, a journal. That way, when they go to a new home, you know, it can be scary. The new parents they've never met before and it can be intimidating to ask them for things like a toothbrush or deodorant. And so we don't want them to feel uncomfortable, not able to do those things. So, they have it all there for them. Fostering Hope recognizes that birthdays are really important to kids. And through our Birthdays with Hope program, we let kids wish for what they want for their birthday.

Matt Kaulig

So, Karen, we're standing here, there's wrapping paper, there's gifts. Tell me what's going on here.

Karen Carter

This is our Birthdays with Hope program. We get wish lists from kids in foster care and residential treatment and then through donors or through money that's been donated to us, we purchase the gifts and volunteers can come out and help wrap them. And then they get delivered before the child's birthday, so they have something to open on their birthday.

Matt Kaulig

So, somebody has to go buy the stuff and then bring it here and then somebody has to wrap it.

Karen Carter

Yep.

Matt Kaulig

So let's wrap!

Karen Carter

So, this originally started with residential treatment kids. Kids that are in the facilities. We found that sometimes they didn't even know what day their birthday is. So, that's how this program grew out of making sure they had a celebration. And then we also do the wish lists, because we want them to be able to ask for what they really hope for.

Matt Kaulig

So, Karen, how can Fox 8 viewers help or get involved

Karen Carter

They can volunteer, donate so they can go to our website and find different opportunities to get involved on there. And our wish lists for in-kind donations as well.

Matt Kaulig

Well, it's an amazing organization that you have in Fostering Hope, helping thousands of kids here in Northeast Ohio. So, on behalf of everybody from Northeast Ohio, thank you for everything that you guys do!

Matt Kaulig

To learn more about Fostering Hope, visit fosteringhopeohio.org and to nominate a person or organization to be featured on an upcoming episode of Cleveland's Own visit kauliggiving.com/clevelandsown. Make it a great day!