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Foster In Texas Archives • Page 3 of 4 • Upbring

Kinship care

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.”

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Beaumont Foundation of America

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.


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.


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.

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Austin Habitat for Humanity is helping kids make happy childhood memories

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.

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San Antonio foster parents Gary and Sabina

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

How to Become Foster Parents in Texas in 9 Steps

How to Become Foster Parents in Texas

Wondering how to become foster parents in Texas? Foster In Texas (FIT) works with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to find loving families for thousands of children each year. We know that getting started as a new foster parent can seem scary, so we’ve simplified the process into nine steps that paint a clear picture of how to become foster parents in Texas. Read More


Meet the Ratcliffs

Like many couples, Fred and Portia Ratcliff wanted desperately to experience the joys of parenthood. But after trying for 10 years to conceive, the couple opened their minds – and their hearts – to another way of building their family.

Since 2006, the Ratcliffs have partnered with Upbring Foster In Texas to welcome nearly 200 children into their home.

By the time they arrive at the Ratcliff’s door, some of these precious children have been stripped of everything, from their self-esteem to the clothes on their back. Once, a newborn came straight from the hospital with nothing but a dirty diaper.

From toothpaste to clothes to three hot meals a day, the Ratcliffs provide the children in their care with the essentials of daily life. But that is just the beginning.

These incredibly brave children cannot stand up for themselves, so the Ratcliffs stand up for them. Portia beams with pride when she explains that the kids affectionately refer to her as Mama Bear because they know she will always go to bat for them.

For the Ratcliffs, fostering is a soul-feeding, lifetime passion. With an endless supply of love to give, they will continue welcoming any child who needs a safe, nurturing place to call home.

For the rest of the Ratcliff’s inspiring story, visit our YouTube page and watch their short video.