Charity Issue: Giving foster kids a better shot

Mary+Meyer%2C+board+secretary+and+volunteer%2C+cant+help+but+cry+when+discussing+Angel%E2%80%99s+Arms%2C+a+program+which+has+allowed+her+to+gain+new+perspectives+on+the+foster+care+system.+

Holland Hilgendorf

Mary Meyer, board secretary and volunteer, can’t help but cry when discussing Angel’s Arms, a program which has allowed her to gain new perspectives on the foster care system.

 

Mary Meyer, board secretary and volunteer, can’t help but cry when discussing Angel’s Arms, a program which has allowed her to gain new perspectives on the foster care system. Their goal is to help foster children stay with their siblings and thrive in school.

Our parents try to prepare their teenagers for the world,” Meyer said. “When you [graduate] with a high school diploma, [it] makes your chances of success so much greater.” ”

— Mary Meyer

 According to Meyer, only 50 percent of kids in the foster care system graduate high school in the U.S. Kids in Angel’s Arms has a graduation rate of 100%. “Our parents try to prepare their teenagers for the world,” Meyer said. “When you [graduate] with a high school diploma, [it] makes your chances of success so much greater.” 

Meyer said fostering children isn’t that simple. For foster parent Lawreene Hall, the hardest part is gaining the kids’ trust. Both Meyer and Hall said keeping foster siblings together helps them feel comfortable with the foster parents.

“Their trauma is at the hands of an adult, so it is hard for the kids in that situation to trust [adults],” Hall said. “[Keeping siblings together] gives them a family, [and] [offers] stability.”

Kim Blumenthal has been a foster parent for Angels Arm’s for nine years and currently fosters six children. For her, the best part of being a foster parent  is seeing the kids she has raised succeed as adults. 

“I think the biggest thing [with being a foster parent] is being a support [system] for them [because] once they are a part of our family, they are a part of us forever,” Blumenthal said. “The [kids] have more people on their side, [and] love is something that everyone should share.”

We give them a family, a home and a stepping stone for their future as people feel loved and are ready to give back to their community.”

— Mary Meyer

Meyer said Angel’s Arms is what makes the kids’ chances of success greater. She believes that the foster care system currently in Missouri is not helping children to reach their full potential.

“The foster care system in Missouri is underfunded,” Meyer said. “The state system needs to be looked at. I’m fortunate to see what Angel’s Arms is doing and to see a lot of success stories.”

For Meyer, being a part of Angel’s Arms was nothing like she thought it would be. She said once she realized that Angel’s Arms is doing an amazing job of pointing foster kids in the direction of success, her love for the program grew.

“We give them a family, a home and a stepping stone for their future as people feel loved and are ready to give back to their community,” Meyer said. “It’s being able to assist families so the parents can make [the] absolutely the best family for children.