By Emery Gewirtz
A day at the movies, new clothes for school or your own laptop. These are simple things a lot of us take for granted. When you were growing up did you ever think of where your dollhouse came from or what it took to have that new videogame? A lot of the time, children in foster care do not have these simple pleasures.
According to the website of the National Foster Care Coalition, every year around 254,000 children enter foster care. The foundation One Simple Wish works hard to support children who are becoming a part of the system. One Simple Wish does not want these children to get lost in the shuffle; instead they work to help them be seen as individuals.
Danielle Gletow, who is a foster mother herself, founded the organization in 2008. She, along with many volunteers and donors, has helped over 35,000 children to date. In 2013, CNN named Gletow amongst their “Top 10 Heroes.”
Gletow’s goal is to have kids be kids. Sometimes even the most basic wishes are the most meaningful to a child. Gletow sees children as full of endless possibilities. They can all can be extraordinary if they are given the tools to explore, grow and find out who they are.
One Simple Wish is a village of people who care about children. There are multitudes of people who volunteer time, donate money and of course, grant wishes. Anyone can be a fairy godmother to these children by granting a wish.
The beautiful thing about this organization is that it shows people can care deeply about others they will never know. If you just ask for help, a lot of people will answer the call.
Sarah Dale, the Community Relations Manager, said, “It is a an incredible journey. People care about the little things that bring normalcy to their lives.”
From a personal standpoint, Dale said, “I have kids and I can’t imagine my kids walking through even a portion of what these kids walk through.” This is why she has worked hard with One Simple Wish to grant nearly 99 percent of all wishes.
“Some people can’t be foster parents, but I can give my time to support them and draw attention to who they are as people and not who they are as a statistic,” Dale attested.
One Simple Wish also goes beyond helping children in foster care; they make sure the children are cared for after they leave. According to the website of One Simple Wish, more than 20,000 children age out of foster care each year with little to no support. At age 18, these children have no family, no siblings, no relatives and no mentors to turn to.
This foundation is needed because these are the children in critical need for real attention. According to the organization’s website, “Children who age out of foster care are several times more likely to end up homeless, addicted to drugs or incarcerated.” Furthermore, the website states, it is estimated that more than 250,000 prisoners in the United States were once foster children. The average child in foster care remains in the system for more than two years, living away from their family, friends and familiar environments.
Over 8,500 wishes have been granted since the organization opened it’s doors.
“It takes a lot of effort and takes a lot of people coming together,” said Dale. “But it gets done.”
So sometimes, perhaps, it is as simple as one wish.
One Simple Wish 1977 North Olden Ave, #292 Trenton, N.J. 08618 Phone: (609) 883-8484 Email: email@example.com Website: www.onesimplewish.org