The Cambridge 4-H has been donating tied fleece blankets to the Dane County Foster Care for a couple of years now. However, when youth member Isaac shared an article about how children in Foster Care can be relocated so quickly that they may not have time to pack (or if they do their items can just be stuffed in a garbage bag), members wanted to do much more. The Cambridge 4-H Members agreed it would be a wonderful project to put backpacks filled with comfort items together to help children during a stressful transition.
Members began their research finding that there are around 220 children currently in the Dane County Foster Care Program. They also found out what items the Foster Care would appreciate: backpacks, blankets, journals, culturally sensitive toys, gift cards for older kids, coloring books, lotions, lip balm, hats, head wraps, books, socks and flashlights. Youth members Emma, Erin, and Haden submitted a grant proposal to the By Youth For Youth Program and received a $3,000 grant, sponsored by UW-Extension, United Way of Dane County, and City of Madison and Dane County. Erin set up a very successful donation drop off spot at the Cambridge Community Library. Emma submitted grant proposals to Madison4Kids receiving $1,000, the Dane County 4-H Leaders Association receiving $50, as well as contacted local businesses, friends, and family for generous item donations.
The members of the Cambridge 4-H hope they will be able to provide comfort to all the children of the Dane County Foster Care; not just this year, but in future years to come because their favorite service projects are when kids are helping kids.