SHS clubs host Fill This House fundraiser

Fill This House serves Cuyahoga County youths that age out of foster care.

Courtesy of FillThisHouse.org

Fill This House serves Cuyahoga County youths that age out of foster care.

Madison McGirr, Web Editor

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With many young adults ‘aging out’ of the foster care system, many students are left without a home and the skills or knowledge to succeed  on their own.  Fill This House, a nonprofit organization based in Cleveland, is dedicated to improving the lives of children growing out of foster care. Fill This House helps transitioning foster young adults by furnishing their new homes to provide financial support and comfort, as well as a fresh start.

Girl Up teamed up with Random Acts of Kindness, Youth for Christ, Diversity Acceptance Program, and Key Club to organize a fundraiser for Fill This House that will take place the week after Thanksgiving.

Kelly Fishman,  SHS English teacher and Girl Up advisor, stressed the importance of Fill This House since she has taught foster students in the past.

As teachers, many of us have worked with students who are aging out of foster care,” Fishman said. “Oftentimes, their foster parents essentially kick them out once they turn 18.  Sadly, there are some foster parents who want the check from the government to foster kids.  Once a child turns 18, they are considered an adult and too old for foster care.  Thus,  no more check for the foster parents.  It’s a very difficult thing to see a child who has no one else and nothing to his or her name be told they aren’t worth anything.”

The Christian faith-based organization helps over 100 young adults within Cuyahoga County per year. Fill This House accepts not only cash donations, but everyday items most might take for granted.

Our organization is always looking for donations of new items,” said Fill This House board member and volunteer Dana Hastings. “Anything from silverware, dishes, glasses, microwaves, toasters, blenders, vacuums, anything. [Giving back] is a wonderful way to keep our organization going and gives us the opportunity to help more students. Cash and [canned food] donations are always great as well.”

While delivering food and furniture, Hastings gets to know the young adults she helps.  She described one of the experiences that touched her the most.

“There was this young girl who had a baby in high school and then aged out of foster care,” she explained. “With a little bit of help from us, she was able to secure a job and she found a very nice home to raise her son in. As of today, she is now working for an organization that first housed her. She’s got a full time job with them, she was able to buy a car and she is just thriving. We have many stories that we feel that we’ve played a small role into helping these kids undergo success.”

Along with helping around 100 young adults per year, the nonprofit works with Cleveland State University to help foster children go to college. The Sullivan-Deckard scholarship at CSU offers ten  students tuition paid in full and Fill This House offers those students the opportunity to have a fully decorated dorm room.

Fishman and Hastings both encourage students and community members to buy goods during Black Friday to donate to Fill This House and give back during the holiday season.

Students can donate canned goods and money during their first period classes Nov. 27 through Dec. 1.

“Very few of us worry about where our next meal is coming from or if the heat will be on when we get home,” Fishman said. “Most of us have parents – even we as teachers can call our moms or dads if we’re having a bad day or difficult time.  However, there are kind, wonderful people among us who do worry about these things.  There are kids who don’t have a person that truly, deeply loves them for who they are.  It is our job as humans to care for one another.  There is so much hate and violence in the world, and I think a little love and care can go a long way.”

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