Every two minutes, a child is removed from his or her home due to abuse or neglect, often with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Children entering foster care seldom have a toothbrush and many carry the few belongings they have in a garbage bag. But there’s hope for these children in need.
Eckerd’s Raising Hope program provides these children with emergency supplies like clothing and toiletries along with comfort items, like a teddy bear. The program model covers three main divisions of resources — Rooms of Hope, Opportunities of Hope and Futures of Hope.
Rooms of Hope are set up like stores and are filled with fresh clothing, pajamas, shoes, hygiene items, diapers and other necessities. Children and families are able to “shop” for the items they need all while maintaining a sense of pride and dignity. Rooms of Hope are usually co-located within Eckerd offices or facilities for easier access in emergency situations.
Opportunities of Hope engage the community to help provide goods and services that meet the emergency, transitional and enrichment needs of the children and families Eckerd serves. For children, these opportunities could include ballet and karate classes or even art and music lessons. This program also covers any special fees or equipment necessary to participate. For families, available professional services include auto repair, house cleaning and pest control. These services help protect and preserve the family unit.
Futures of Hope are resources to improve educational and vocational success. These resources include tutoring, mentoring, life-skills training, apprenticeships, entrepreneurial training and other development opportunities for teens and young adults.