The Need We Address
Something Special supports children in foster care. While the placement of children in foster homes of caring individuals is a vital step in their development, many have an extremely difficult time transitioning to the adult world after they “age out” of the foster care system at age 18. According to research by the California Research Bureau, a high percentage of children in foster care encounter substantial problems upon emancipation from the system:
- Approximately one-third fail to complete high school and few enter college;
- Approximately twenty-five percent experience homelessness;
- Unemployment rates are at least fifty percent;
- Approximately one-third receive public assistance.
These outcomes demonstrate that more needs to be done to enhance the quality of life of children in foster care and to facilitate their transition to adulthood.
How We Help
Something Special helps children prepare for their emancipation from the foster care system by supporting efforts during their teen years to develop their interests and talents in music, the arts, and athletics. While most foster parents provide adequate food and shelter for the children, many simply lack the resources to fund artistic and athletic pursuits that develop creativity and self-confidence which tend to increase the positive outlook of teenagers in their challenging years. Our core objective is to enable some children, who express an interest in developing their interests and talents, to enjoy the sponsorship and financial support that so many other children routinely enjoy. In short, Something Special provides support for enhancements of the quality of life with the hope that these enhancements will, in some small way, increase the likelihood of the children being prepared for the challenge of adulthood.
Something Special works with county agencies and private organizations focusing on foster care issues to identify children who would be suitable recipients of support. Children who seek to develop their interests in music, the arts, or athletics may submit a request for support which specifies their interest or talent and what goods or services may help them develop those interests or talents (such as a musical instrument, art lessons, athletic gear, etc.). Based on a review of these requests on an ongoing basis, the organization will then select certain requests, based on the availability of funds, and purchase the requested goods and/or services in order to provide the requested support.
Recipients of support will also be given an opportunity to obtain follow-up support in order to sustain their efforts to develop a particular talent or interest. Something Special will endeavor to provide this follow-up support in order to increase the likelihood of the organization’s support making a difference in the child’s development.