The Camellia Network, a multi-state organization that seeks and identifies resources for youths aging out of foster care, kicked off it first annual “Great Fall Rally” this week to push for donors willing to support former foster youth early in the academic calendar.
“This a seasonal push to fulfill as many registries as possible and get our youth equipped with the supplies and materials they need to be successful in school, work, and parenthood this fall,” said Isis Keigwin, co-founder of the organization.
The campaign combines two familiar mechanisms:
- Randomized sponsorship of youths in need, similar to the strategy employed by international “sponsor-a-child” programs.
- Online registries, in the popular mode of gift-giving to newlyweds.
Visitors to the rally website first see a general note about the campaign and its goal: to raise $15,000 for youth registries by September 27, a period that for many of these youths will span their first month of the school year.
Below the campaign overview is the name, photo and a brief biography of a youth or young adult who has recently aged out of foster care. Each click of the rally website generates one of the youths at random, giving each an opportunity for exposure to potential supporters.
The former foster youths hail from the 12 states in which Camellia Network operates: Alaska, Ala., Calif., Colo., Fla., Ga., Ill., Mass., Mo., N.C., N.Y., and Ore. Each bio section identifies age, career aspirations and current plans for education or development.
Supporters can click “Donate Now” next to the biography to view a list of resources – everything from laptops and school supplies to diapers and chapstick – that a youth has listed in their registry. Next to the registry is a space listing donor activity, and online conversations between the youths and supporters.
There are other links for supporters to use their Twitter, Facebook and E-mail accounts to persuade others into supporting the rally.
John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change