Giving Back: Promises2Kids

Giving back and supporting our communities is always at the top of the list of my priorities as a Branch Manager. I love that I work for a Bank (Homestreet Bank) that has a very long history of supporting the communities we serve. Food and shelter are always at the forefront of our priorities in finding the organizations that we support. I have long supported organizations that also support children. It is my favorite sector. So to be able to highlight and support a charitable, non-profit organization that covers all three of these initiatives is wonderful!

lisa-and-raj
Rajah Gainey of Promises 2 Kids with Lisa De La Torre, the author.

Promises2Kids’ mission is to create a brighter future for foster children in San Diego County. The organization supports these children not just temporarily, but well into adulthood. I sat down with Rajah Gainey who is the Individual & Corporate Gifts Manager and he shared the following information with me on their programs.

Promises2kids’ programs include:

  • A.B. and Jessie Polinsky Children’s Center: An emergency shelter for children who are removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect, this facility protects and cares for more than 1,000 children a year.
  • Camp Connect: A program that reunites sisters and brothers who are separated in the foster care system through a four day, residential summer camp and 10 additional day events throughout the year.
  • Guardian Scholars: A program that, beginning in high school with junior Guardian Scholars, works with foster youth to ensure they graduate from high school, advance to college, and complete their higher education with the Promises2kids scholarship program
  • Foster Funds: Foster children often feel alone and isolated and may go without simple pleasures of child hood such as birthday gifts, a sports uniform or a musical instrument. Promises2kids has special funds set up to support these needs not met through typical funding.

The following information I gathered from the Promises2Kids website: Promises2kids.org

FOSTER CHILDREN STATISTICS

  • On any given day, there are 3,300 foster children in San Diego County.
  • In the U.S., the median age of the children in foster care on September 30, 2011, was 8.8 years.
  • Each year, approximately 300 foster children reach age 18 expected to transition to adulthood, but lack the skills and resources to support this transition

OUTCOMES DURING TRANSITION FROM CARE TO ADULTHOOD – NATIONAL DATA

  • The number of children aging out of foster care (at age 18) has risen 64% since 1999.
  • 65% of foster youth who aged out of foster care at age 18 reported have 7 or more school changes. (K-12) while in foster care.
  • Approximately 80% of foster children experience mental health challenges including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and others related to their traumatic past.

p2kHow Promises2kids has helped youth in San Diego:

  • Since 1981, Promises2kids has provided nearly $25 million in services to over 175,000 current and former foster youth
  • Last year they united over 450 foster youth with siblings through Camp Connect.
  • Promises2kids has helped over 200 former foster youth achieve their dreams of higher education through Guardian Scholars. Over 90% of these youths are first generation graduates.
  • In 2014, they doubled the size of the Guardian Scholar Program from 50 to 100 students.
  • Over 80% of Guardian Scholars graduate or continue on to their next year of education, far surpassing the 3% of foster youth nationwide who graduate college.

I had the opportunity to tour the facilities with my Assistant Branch Manager Reggie recently. We both were so impressed with how beautiful and useful we found the facilities. Everyone was warm and welcoming. We had an opportunity to see the staff interacting with the children, it was bittersweet. I felt honored to have the chance to visit and to see first-hand how the services Promises2kids directly impact our foster youth.

My staff and I are excited to support this organization through fund raising and volunteer opportunities. We will be shortly participating with their Thanksgiving feast, collecting gifts for Christmas, as well as raising funds for their next campaign.

Thank you to everyone that both works at Promises2kids as well as those that already support the organization.


Contact the author...

Lisa De La Torre - Bank Manager

phone-icon 619-400-0402

mail_mail_icon_mail_png_flat_icon_web_icon_png_circle_icon Lisa.Delatorre@homestreet.com

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