Giving Tuesday

December 9th

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

FIT Archives • Upbring

0

Who is Carmen Todd, and Why Does Texas Need More People Like Her?

Carmen Todd knows how it feels to grow up without a stable home and loving family. As a teenager in foster care, she often felt like the “bad” kid nobody wanted. Long ago, Carmen promised herself she would show children in foster care they are loved and celebrated.

Today, she is fulfilling her promise as a foster parent.

“It’s the most humbling and rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I could not be happier,” Carmen said. “I have fostered nine children since 2015, and each child will always be part of my family.”

Read More

0

13 Real, Soul-Inspiring Foster Care Quotes from Parents and Children

In recognition of National Foster Care Month, we’re proud to share these real, soul-inspiring  foster care quotes from the children and families we serve.

Every year, Upbring connects nearly 2,000 Texas children with compassionate foster families. Our families do more than open their homes to children and give them a safe place to sleep. They also open their hearts and give them the love and support every children deserves.

Read More

Kinship care
1

Why Would These Empty Nesters Trade Beach Vacations for Bedtime Stories?

Billy and Lisa never expected to raise another child, but their lives changed forever when they opened their hearts to kinship care.

The couple was like many “empty nesters.” When they weren’t caring for families in hospice care, they took beach vacations and enjoyed the outdoors.

One day, they learned they had a grandson in foster care they didn’t know about. Billy and Lisa couldn’t imagine someone else raising the child. Still, they weren’t sure they were ready to raise him themselves. That changed when they saw the boy’s photo and “instantly fell in love.”

Read More

Beaumont Foundation of America
1

Beaumont Foundation of America and Upbring: 11 years, $5 Million and a Lifetime of Memories

“Thank you for letting me spend money on new clothes and shoes. I got The Flash PJs.”

Do you remember shopping for school clothes with your parents when you were a kid? Every fall, you had the chance to choose outfits that made you feel comfortable, confident and ready to succeed inside and outside the classroom. Afterward, maybe you spent quality time with your mom and/or dad over lunch, a movie or miniature golf.

Children in Upbring’s care have the chance to experience that same sense of excitement, independence and belonging, thanks to a long-standing partnership between Upbring and the Beaumont Foundation of America.

Lifting children up

Generous grants from the Beaumont Foundation of America enable school-age children in our Foster In Texas program and residential treatment centers to shop for and select new clothing, in many cases for the first time in their lives. Pictured L-R: Frank Newton, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Beaumont Foundation of America; Loren Riemer, Upbring Vice President of Development Operations, and Dr. Kurt Senske, Upbring Chief Executive Officer.

The foundation is a nonprofit grant-making institution led by President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Newton. Frank, his staff and the board of directors have a heart for serving less-fortunate children, youth, families and the elderly. In 2007, they were exploring ways to make an impact in the lives of children in foster care.

That is when the foundation partnered with Upbring and issued our first grant to help the children we serve purchase much-needed clothing.

“Every child deserves to feel valued, loved and capable of offering something special to the world,” Frank said. “The foundation is passionate about collaborating with nonprofits like Upbring that work tirelessly to help children build brighter futures. Together, we have a long, impactful history of lifting up children in need.”

During our 11-year partnership with the Beaumont Foundation of America, Upbring has been blessed to receive more than $5 million in generous clothing grants.

For perspective, let’s assume a family spends $25 on one outfit for a 7-year-old girl. That equals approximately 200,000 outfits!

“We have full hands and hearts, and we were so grateful to have this grant to buy pajamas, socks, dress clothes and everyday wear. Thank you for your kindness and for helping us on this journey of caring for so many children.”

Meeting more than a practical need

Because of the partnership’s long-term nature, clothing stipends are a consistent, reliable benefit we provide the children in our care. Our long-time CEO, Dr. Kurt Senske, knows that the clothes meet more than a practical need.

“When a child tells you they feel different from other kids and they’ve always had trouble making friends, it breaks your heart,” Kurt said. “Something as seemingly simple as a new pair of sneakers or a superhero shirt can help them fit in and feel welcomed. And by letting them participate in choosing their own clothes, we can boost their sense of autonomy, confidence and self-esteem. That is a powerful gift to give a child, and we are eternally grateful to the Beaumont Foundation of America.”

Want to help?

“You are like my angels for helping me buy new clothes.”

Upbring is humbled by the support of generous friends who help us meet each child’s unique needs. Whether you feel led to give a generous gift or volunteer your time and talent, you can walk alongside children in your community who need our help.

 

0

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.

Austin Habitat for Humanity is helping kids make happy childhood memories
1

Can This Playhouse Make A Real Impact In Children’s Lives?

Do you remember camping trips, play dates in the park, and Saturday soccer tournaments with your family cheering you on?  Most of us have happy childhood memories, and we want our children to have them, too.

But for many children who enter foster care, typical childhood experiences have taken a back seat to safety and survival. Austin Habitat for Humanity is doing its part to change that.

Read More

San Antonio foster parents Gary and Sabina
1

San Antonio Foster Parents Build Legacy of Love

Gary and Sabina of San Antonio were blessed with three biological children. Their hearts led them to partner with Upbring foster-to-adopt to add two more to their family. If their story ended there, it would still be worth telling.

But the day they held a 3-month-old with two broken ribs and a broken leg, they knew they had to do more. Read More

12