How We Support Children
Since the birth of Meghan’s Wish Guin has put her heart and soul into providing the essentials for the children she and her husband took into their home but also for the many other children in the state of Colorado. The foundation has put out over 230 bags to date spanning from Adams County all the way to El Paso County. Most are delivered in bulk every few months to the few counties I have established an ongoing relationship, with and a smaller amount straight to foster/kin houses.
You have described the first couple of children showing up to your home with little to no possessions – what percentage of foster children show up to a new home in that situation? I couldn’t give you a statistic on that because sadly I don’t think it’s something that has been monitored closely. What I can tell you is that out of the six kids that we have had in our home, only one arrived with clothing and toys from his home. The other five showed up with nothing. I would say that’s a pretty good indicator of how big this issue is. If you were to ask any foster parent the same thing, I would almost guarantee they would say at least half their kids have shown up with nothing.
How are you able to pay for all the bags you’ve put together? Where to you derive funding? Are you using grants? I never want to have these bags turned down by a county due to funding so I am striving to sustain funding from grants and private donations. 100% of every donation goes right back into the foundation, resupplying bags, new items, and business supplies.
Do you have a relationship with other Non Profit Organizations that help displaced individuals? I work very closely with several non profits who also support foster care. The list includes Foster Source, The Closet Cooperative, Foster Together Colorado, and Courage Community Foster Care. I have also received several large donations items from Bethany Christian Services which does work for children in different capacities.
I think the unique aspect of this non profit is that the more exposure we have, the higher chances of gaining more support. So I am open to establishing relationships with non profits who support our community and our people who live in it. However, it is easy to get pulled in too many directions so I try to stay focused on the need here currently.
How easy or hard has it been to navigate the bureaucracy of the system? This has been much more challenging than I had imagined I assumed because the bags were free to the county, packed by volunteers outside the department, and delivered to the county DHS office it wouldn’t be difficult at all. However, the social work profession can have a high turnover, so it is challenging to find the right person to contact in order to pitch my idea and I have been turned down due to lack of space to hold the bags and even have been told “we work with another non profit who does something similar.” That last statement tends to upset me because unlike the traditional business world, non profits aren’t “competing.” For me, the more people helping, the better, and sadly there are so many children coming in and out of the foster system that it’s nearly impossible for one non profit to reach every single child.
What advice do you have for foster parents trying to navigate the system? The biggest advice I have for anyone interested in becoming a foster parent or newly certified is to BUILD A TRIBE. There are so many resources out there that aren’t well known, but offer amazing services to both the foster parents and the kiddos. Foster Source is one of the biggest for support.
SUPPORT is key when you are building your tribe. I often say to people “I feel like I took the red pill in the matrix and wish I had taken the blue pill.” Essentially meaning that now that I have seen this “other world” it becomes harder and harder to have relationships with people outside of the foster world. As much as people can empathize, it’s not the same support as someone who is walking that journey alongside yours. The friendships that have lasted through this journey are true ones and the ones I’ve gained are amazing. These are people who have seen you at your lowest and they are there to pick you up. If you do not build a tribe and reach out for resources and support you will most likely drown and burn out very quickly in this system.
Is your goal to eventually go National with your program? I think that’s almost always the dream is to become widespread. My current goal is that not one child is going without basic necessities, so spanning the state of Colorado is a challenge in and of itself, but yes eventually I would love to see Meghan’s Wish reach nationwide.