Giving Tuesday

March 21st

#GivingTuesday is Tuesday, November 28. Find out more about this 24-hour, special opportunity to make 2X impact, click here.


The Mrs. – Inspiring Us All, One Song at a Time

“About to speak my mind. I won’t wait forever, and I won’t be last. Now I’m breaking through the ceiling made of glass. No need to ask. I’m enough, I’m enough, I’m enough, I’m enough.”- Enough by The Mrs.

When you think of the kind of champion you want in your corner as you work to break the cycle of child abuse – especially by empowering children and young women – I recommend The Mrs. They are four women using music to change the way other women see themselves: a top priority – as they inspire women to know that they are enough.

This message was performed for hundreds of Upbring’s friends who recently gathered at The Westin Austin at the Domain for the organization’s signature fundraising event, Upbring Red Ball. Since the Austin-based event supports Upbring Foster in Texas, New Life Children’s Center and BeREAL Austin, the band’s original songs served as a platform for more than just dancing the night away.

The Mrs. encouraged us to achieve our dreams in their hit Dare Me. The pop anthem Somewhere to Go reminded guests that they are never alone and they have someone to turn to when “the sky is fallin’ down.” These lyrics encouraged everyone in the room that night, so just imagine the impact on a girl living at New Life Children’s Center or in the Foster In Texas program! When I think about the positivity these artists are bringing into the world, I realize The Mrs. is made up of precisely the type of role models we hope to bring into the lives of those we serve.

Andra Liemandt founded The Mrs. after falling in love with drumming after her second daughter was born. More than just a band, The Mrs. has turned into a movement to help women see themselves in a positive light and ban negative self-talk. The band’s #IamEnough Campaign and “The Magic Mirror” recently gained national attention and sparked important conversations about the significance of self-acceptance and love.

Upbring was honored that The Mrs. chose to partner with us for Red Ball Austin.

Andra often partners with organizations in the community that are aligned with the band’s founding values. Most recently, Andra founded The Kindness Campaign on the belief that kindness is the key to changing the way children see themselves and how they relate to one another.

In an interview with Rockstar Magazine, the group offered these encouraging words to readers: “Never give up. Never let other people dictate your own story. You can absolutely achieve your dreams if you dare yourself.”

We want to thank The Mrs. for promoting their positive message and continuing to inspire us all.

About the Author

Jacie Minnick is a grant writer and member of the Upbring external relations team. Jacie recently relocated to Austin from Indiana, where she attended Hanover College (Go Panthers!). Off the clock, Jacie and her husband Jerry enjoy exploring all the things that make Austin unique, including dining at quirky restaurants, catching the latest highly acclaimed movie, and supporting the local Pug rescue mission.


A Heartfelt Message to Our Generous Friends

Kurt Senske has visited New Life Children’s Center hundreds of times during his 25 years as Upbring CEO. One day, a brave girl named Ava* approached him and asked who he was. When Kurt told Ava he leads the organization that operates New Life, she shared a story he will never forget.

Upbring Red Ball Platinum Partner Cut to Black created this 
short video
 explaining why they partner with us.

“She said that because of the therapy, life skills development opportunities and on-site education she got at New Life, she knew she would have a pretty good earthly life,” Kurt remembered.

“And because our spiritual care program taught her that her sins are forgiven, she also knew she would have an amazing eternal life.”

Ava’s story was just one of many beautiful stories of physical, emotional and spiritual healing told during Upbring Red Ball 2018. Because of the generous friends who supported our signature fundraising event, Upbring has the resources to provide care for more than 300 kids next year at New Life and in our Foster In Texas and BeREAL programs.

“We could not do what we do without you”

They are children like Jay and AJ, who didn’t always know where they would sleep or where their next meal would come from. The brothers were excited to come to Austin and go to a big party with their mom, Cheryl Lamaak, who partnered with Upbring to adopt them. Mostly, Cheryl said, the boys were excited to dance!

But before the music started, Cheryl delivered a heartfelt message to Red Ball guests.

“Your support helped me take the boys shopping for clothes when they came to live with me. They were so excited to pick out their own shoes for the first time,” Cheryl said. “I was also able to sign them up for karate, which has helped build their self-confidence. Those might seem like small things, but they make a tremendous impact in the lives of families who welcome children into their homes. We could not do what we do without you.”

Live art and live music

Russian-born Mila Sketch, described by her teachers as a child prodigy, earned her first art award at nine years old.

Red Ball guests had the chance to bid on trips, gift baskets and other items during live and silent auctions. The items were donated by generous congregations, businesses, families and individuals such as Austin artist Mila Sketch.

Mila was on-site creating a painting that she donated to New Life Children’s Center.

The evening closed with music by The Mrs. The Austin-based pock-rock group’s songs are powered by driving drum and bass lines.

But the heartbeat of each number lies in uplifting lyrics that promote a positive self-image among women.

In future blog posts, we will feature Mila Sketch and The Mrs. In the meantime, we thank you for showing Central Texas children we see them, we value them and we celebrate them.

We encourage you to visit our Flickr page and relive the fun from Upbring Red Ball 2018!

*Ava’s story is true, but we used a pseudonym to protect her identity.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick invited the Klines to a special celebration of foster families at the Capitol in Austin.

Faith Carries Family Through Beautiful Adoption Journey & Captures Attention of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick

Newlyweds Paul and Kristen Kline had a plan for their future. They would have biological children first, and then explore adoption later. But in Kristen’s words, what she and Paul put on the back burner, God moved to the front burner.

“It was Mother’s Day when we found out Read More

Emily sent a personalized Christmas card to our generous donors

Harmony Learns to Forgive at New Life

Inspirational message at New Life RTC

Before they complete their treatment and take the next steps in their life journey, some girls leave inspirational messages for others who will call New Life home.

Harmony* started barrel racing as a child. She loved the competition and the peace she felt while riding. But mostly, Harmony loved long car rides, and talks, with her mother as they worked the racing circuit.

But when Harmony turned 10 years old, her mother met a man who introduced her to drugs. Read More

Congratulations & Farewell CFO Richard Fritsche

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

Upbring is honored to wish a warm farewell and happy retirement to our CFO, Richard ‘Rich’ Fritsche.  Rich joined Upbring in June of 2013, and has since been an asset, leader and generous member of Read More


8 Stories from the Child Welfare World You Might Have Missed

Sifting through daily news can be overwhelming and time-consuming, but in our industry it’s important. So, we gathered some of our favorite child welfare stories to make sure you don’t miss them!

From answered Christmas wishes to a record-breaking year for adoption in Louisiana, we hope these stories will encourage and inspire you.

8 Child Welfare Stories You Might Have Missed


  • Getting their kicks: Amarillo foster children pick out new shoes thanks to local donations. FULL STORY
  • Salado: Local couple buys home to help foster children. FULL STORY
  • Gov. Abbott proclaims January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month. FULL STORY
  • Upbring celebrated the new year by opening its second Christian school. Upbring School of Discovery and Leadership – Downtown Houston serves children from 6 weeks to kindergarten. FULL STORY
  • The Trailer for Simone Biles’ Lifetime Biopic Is All the Inspiration You Need Today. FULL STORY


  • A family’s adoption story in Louisiana. FULL STORY
  • Louisiana breaks adoption record for second year in a row. FULL STORY
  • Two brothers ask for a family this Christmas. FULL STORY

9 Lessons I Learned About Results Based Leadership While at Upbring

More than 23,000 children will age out of the US foster care system every year. Many have no family, no home and nowhere to turn in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds:

  • After reaching the age of 18, 20% of the children who were in foster care will become instantly homeless.
  • Only 1 out of every 2 foster kids who age out of the system will have some form of gainful employment by the age of 24.
  • There is less than a 3% chance for children who have aged out of foster care to earn a college degree at any point in their life.

Statistics courtesy of the National Foster Youth Institute.

Read More

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